New Tips for Fast Meetings
A half hour meeting that accomplishes exactly what you need is feasible. But it requires smart (not time-consuming) planning, discipline during the meeting, and a focus on achieving results.
Any time an issue or project calls for fast-paced roundtable input or you want to gauge reactions, schedule a meeting.
Don’t call a meeting if you want the group to accomplish something that you or someone else could easily accomplish another way. To avoid this, draft the agenda and review each item before you schedule the meeting.
The biggest timesaver is advance planning and the best way to communicate efficiency to the participants ahead of time is with a straightforward, but thorough agenda that includes a clear purpose.
Only invite people who have a stake in the outcome, have something to add to the discussion, or must be invited because of protocol. It's better to approach the uninvited and offended ahead of time with your reasons than have the discussion run off track.
Once you’ve decided on the participants, send each an email with the date, time, and a brief description of the purpose and goal. Let them know that a complete agenda will follow shortly. Expect an RSVP and specify the timeframe to respond. If you need certain participants to prepare something ahead of time, let them know once they’ve confirmed.
The One-Page Agenda
Limit the agenda to one page even if you have to use a smaller font. Doing this sends a message from the start that you are organized, no nonsense, and plan to keep things moving.
In front of each item on the agenda, put the clock time, not minutes allowed. For example, if the meeting starts at 9:30 and the first item will take ten minutes, put "9:30 – 9:40," not "ten minutes." This is another indicator to participants that they need to arrive on time and that you’re serious about keeping the meeting short and concise.Continued on the next page