I was introduced recently to the idea of reducing all meetings to 45 minutes. Given most meetings seem to run overtime, I didn’t think this was possible or could work without something or someone missing out.
One thing is for sure - there are some meetings that even 1 hour isn’t enough – like detailed planning, reviews or presentations. But the vast majority of meetings, when structured and prepared for, can be done in under 60 minutes.
Whilst we all enjoy spending time with our colleagues and clients, there are ways to keep meetings shorter and still meaningful. Here are a few meeting techniques to help you transition to shorter, yet still meaningful meetings.
Meeting Purpose – provide a clear objective of the meeting. This can be achieved through a very clear meeting name and agenda.
Attendees - only invite those who must attend. Others who wish to be kept informed may be optional attendees or just on the distribution list of the minutes.
Clear Agenda – create and share the agenda in advance. The agenda defines what is to be discussed, who is responsible for each discussion topic, and may include an estimated time allocated to each topic.
Meeting Resources – ensure all meeting resources, such as documents and reports, are easily accessible. Provide all attendees with convenient access to the information they need, before and during the meeting.
Time keeper – have an attendee monitor the time to keep progressing the meeting and avoid running over!
Minute taker – organize a dedicated person to take notes for the meeting, allowing the person running the meeting to focus on the conversation and body language of the attendees. This keeps the meeting flowing rather than pausing to write notes and having to catch up on what others said while you were writing.
Actions - capture actions with assigned owners and due dates. This allows items that can’t be resolved within the meeting to be delegated and delivered prior to the next meeting, thus keeping your meeting shorter.
So whilst there is no silver bullet and you can’t reduce all your meetings to under an hour, there are certainly a few things you can try to reduce the time and ensure meetings are productive. Give it a go and see if you can reduce at least half of your meetings.
To help you get started, use MinuteMe to create collaborative, powerful, shorter, yet still meaningful meetings today!
- Cath Perry