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Meetings consume a large proportion of the average working week. Typically, a manager speaks up half of each week in meetings. Making sure that meetings rum smoothly and achieve their purpose is an essential ingredient of time management.


Meeting on One to One

One-to-one meetings are more flexible than large, formal gatherings, and their duration is more easily controlled. Nevertheless, you need to achieve a delicate balance between cutting a meeting too short, leaving the other person feeling frustrated, and allowing it to go on so long that both parties feel their time is being wasted.


Timing Small Meetings

Some one-to-one meetings have very specific purpose, such as recruitment or staff assessment, and in these cases there usually tends to be a well-understood format and duration. Less formal one-to-one meetings tend to be either short and focused, in response to a particular situation (such as reprimand), or more general and of indefinite duration.

In these latter cases, avoid unnecessary time-wasting for both parties by deciding informally on an agenda and time frame for the meeting  beforehand. Be disciplined in adhering to it. This way, both parties’ expectations of the meeting’s purpose will be clarified, minimizing the need to spend time resolving misunderstandings afterwards.


Planning Large Meetings

Make sure that everybody attending a meeting knows, in advance, its purpose and their role. Circulate an agenda well beforehand to tell participants which subjects are to be discussed. This will allow them to prepare any necessary information and gain an idea of the duration of the meeting. It will be easier for the chairperson to control time-wasting tactics if everybody is aware that the agenda must be covered within the set time limit. Your agenda will also help to define the amount of time allocated to individual items.


Preparing An Agenda

He order in which items appear on the agenda can have a powerful effect on a meetings timing . Avoiding an agenda with a contentious subject, since the participants in the meeting may spend too much time discussing it instead of moving on to the next item. Instead, begin with routine and straightforward business, which easy decisions. This gives the meeting a feeling of achievement and the impetus to progress rapidly.


Avoiding Time-Wasting 

Time-wasting in meetings costs more than just the participants’ time; the monetary cost of a meeting may be considered when the combined salaries of those present are taken into account. So it is imperative that time is not lost by people attending unnecessary meetings, by meetings being disrupted, or by meetings failing to achieve their objectives.

Do not tolerate tactics such as lengthy, irrelevant speeches by fellow participants , or the endless revising of points. If you are the chairperson, it will be our role to recognize such  tactics and ensure that the meting is kept moving.


Keeping To Schedule

Meetings should start punctually; begin without latecomers, and do not waste time recapping for them when they arrive. Keep a careful track of time throughout a meeting to ensure the agenda is covered in the allocated time. In general defer overrunning items until the end of the meeting so that other items can be dealt with on schedule.



Encourage people to attend only the parts of a meeting that concern them.

Allocate a specific amount of time to each subject on an agenda.

Remind everyone what was agreed at a meeting in a follow-up memo

Bernard Taiwo

I am Management strategist, Editor and Publisher.

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