Friday, March 30, 2012

Meetings: End on Time

Not that this has ever happened to you...

The meeting you’re attending over runs by 10-15 minutes, which impacts your next meeting, which means you miss stuff in the next meeting so you don’t get what’s going on so you re-ask about ground already covered, that impacts, so the meeting drags out longer than intended, which… and on it goes. Think dominos. One domino crashes into the effectiveness of the next.

It’s a respect thing. Over run a meeting and you’re impact other people and it’s not just me impacting you. It’s me impacting the 5 people in my meeting that impacts the five meetings their attending, which impacts the 25 people in all those meetings, etc.

Why do we over run meetings? TONS of reasons. Lots to talk about. Knotty problem. The guy that has an opinion on everything. Okay, so there’s more stuff to do – what else is new?? Manage it, don’t let it manage you.

Ending on time is about RESPECT.

Ending on time is about forcing DECISIONS.

You can always have another meeting or discuss via email those items you don’t get to.

Things you can do:

  • Give a five minute warning before the end of the meeting, say, “Let’s do a time check, we have five minutes left. Let’s summarize the action items.”
  • Give a 1 minute warning
  • Have a parking lot for the stuff you can’t cover. More on the parking lot later.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Meetings: Start on Time

How often has this happened to you?

You’re on time for a meeting and the organizer is running 3-5 minutes late. When they finally do show up, they say, “we’ll give everyone else a few minutes to show up.” When the meeting finally does get started, it’s running 8-10 minutes late.

Those in the meeting made the effort to be there on time and they’re waiting. There’s a respect issue here: those on time made the effort to be there and their told to wait. Given the number of meetings that we have, this is also a productivity issue. Late means less time to get the work of the meeting done.

If you start late then people will think it’s okay to come in late. A 9:00am meeting can shift to 9:15. Then a 9:15 meeting gets rescheduled to 9:30 to accommodate folks. The organizer thinks that they need to change the time because people are coming late (because the organizer starts late).

DO: Be clear about the start time. Taken care of by electronic appointment systems, but if you’re emailing a group of people to meet at Panera’s resturant, it’ll be less clear.

DO: Start on time! You can start the meeting by saying, “The clock says it’s time to start, so I’d like to welcome you to the ….”.

DO: Start talking at the start time, even if people are still coming in or milling around.

DO: No one in the meeting? Start talking anyway.

DO: Are you a preacher? Start that service on time. Hundreds of reasons why: new people, kids, professionals – all kinds of implications. Just do it.