6 Ways Leaders Can Effectively Run Meetings Without Losing Time

April 16th, 2018 by Neil Mullarkey

Time is something that most leaders don’t seem to have enough of. It’s something leaders will confess to be chasing quite often. Despite all the time management tips and practices that can help you be more productive, you find it hard to make enough time to get things done. If it’s not the time spent traveling, then it’s the time you spend on calls with business associates. And worst of all, you end up spending a lot of time in meetings.

While meetings can take up a lot of your time it’s an evil that’s necessary, particularly for you as the leader of an organization. Meetings are essential to the work you do because of their ability to draw people closer and share information. Also, meetings can help you synergize and align your team with your vision and purpose. It’s a great way to mentor your talent and understand what drives their passion. Basically, even if you’re tired of all the meetings you can’t avoid them. You simply have to put up with them.

However, meetings don’t have to be such a drag. In the age of exponential growth and digital revolution, the business world is moving fast, and so should you. Getting trapped in hour-long meetings (if not longer) can seriously hamper your ability to get multiple things done. And believe me, the times today necessitate the need to get multiple things done in the least amount of time.

So how do you go about attending all necessary meetings in your busy day and find the time to strategize, brainstorm and do everything else that a leader needs to do to ensure their business succeeds? Here are some guidelines that can help your meetings be more brisk.

1. Drastically Shortened

Small talk and chatting can take up a lot of time. Sure they’re great tools to break the ice, connect with your team members and even as a warm up to the more serious conversations, however, they just take up too much time. This is the time you can save and instead spend on the more meaningful discussion that serves the meeting’s purpose. Limit all meetings that you attend to a maximum of 30 minutes. This’ll force you to address all the important, pressing matters first and get it off your plate. Restrict conversations to the agenda at hand and if you have time to spare, engage in some light talk to connect with your team.

2. Leave Other Matters Out

Have you noticed that sometimes discussions in meetings can take a dramatic turn into a completely different tangent that’s not related to the agenda? These can drag a perfectly well planned meeting into the realm of tiresome and often needless debate and argument. Avoid this trap by reminding everyone to stick to the topic of discussion. Losing focus is easy, however, maintaining it is pivotal to get the most of your meetings and the limited time you have. Sure, you’ll find plenty of meetings that identify other issues during discussions. Try to park them for now and address them in a later meeting.

3. Balance Your Time

Being a leader means you’re generally a busy person. Your team will constantly be on the lookout to grab your attention. You’re going to be pulled in every direction and it’s tough to balance everyone and everything you need to do. So how do you manage? Set a weekly schedule that covers everyone that’s directly and closely working with you. This way you’ll be able to allocate your time in a balanced way and ensure no one is left out. You’ll be able to give everyone your attention, mentor them when required and address several company matters during these sessions with your leadership team.

4. Be Prepared

If meetings were to commence with everyone being briefed on why they’re there and what the purpose of the meeting is, then you’ll waste precious time bringing everyone up to speed. Being prepared for every meeting is essential. Make sure everyone who is attending knows the agenda before they arrive. So all the reading materials, reports, documents, etc. that will be talked about is shared preemptively with the attendees. This way you’ll definitely get the most out of the meeting within the stipulated time.

5. Focused Group

Ever been in a meeting where some of the attendees just huddle up in a corner listening and taking notes (if that even)? These people often don’t contribute much wisdom to the meetings and I find myself wondering why they’re there in the first place. As an exponential leader, you know you want to be surrounded by talented individuals, right? To curb this, make sure only those people attend meetings that are relevant, know what it’s all about and who will contribute to the discussions. This way, you’ll be locked in a meeting room with the true talent and brains in your company and be able to extract the most of their expertise during discussions.

6. Speak Last

Leaders often have the most to say in meetings. They steer it, drive it, and often feel their say is the most important out of everyone else that’s in the meeting. Sure, you have the most vested in the company, there’s no denying that. However, by speaking too much you’re alluding others to have a say. Plus, if you’re serious about building capacity in your company you need to ensure you have a talented group of individuals around you. Test them out. Hear what they have to say. Let them make mistakes, learn, grow in confidence, and be better future leaders. Your job as the leader isn’t to drive every meeting that takes place in the company, it’s to guide and coach your talent.

With these 6 guidelines, you’ll be able to get the most of your time from all the meetings you attend. This way you’ll guarantee yourself the ability to keep up with the rapidly changing business world around you and ensure your company moves forward at the same (if not faster) pace.

This article originally appeared in Paul Keijzer.

This article was written by Paul Keijzer from Business2Community and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

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