Do You Do This Before A Meeting?

time management meeting reminderI’m a living, breathing, reminder app. Are you? If I have a meeting with someone, I email 24 hours before to confirm we’re still on for the meeting. I’m like that little digital calendar message that pops up to say, “Hey don’t forget! You’ve got that thing tomorrow!” Even though I’ve done this for years, I’ve recently starting weighing the pros and cons of the practice. Here is what I’ve come up with:

The pros: You’re minimizing your risk of wasting time. If you block off time in your day, or worse yet, drive out of your way to a meeting only to have the person not show, you could have spent that time doing something else. Plus, even the most organized person forgets appointments from time to time and a gentle reminder can avoid an oversight. Finally, a reminder email also tells the other party that YOU didn’t forget either.

The cons: You’re contributing to the world’s epidemic of superfluous email communication. Email is so easy to send that sometimes we end up sending unnecessary messages, making it more difficult for the recipient to find messages that really matter. Reading email has become more like a treasure hunt- quickly sorting out the junk to find the important stuff. If you sent too much email, you might risk being associated with the “junk” and having your important communications glossed over.

My Conclusion

So what’s a person to do? After much deliberation, I’ve decided that the pros outweigh the cons in this situation. I will continue to be a meeting reminder, but I’m curious to hear your thoughts? What do YOU do before a meeting?

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3 Ways to Make Meetings Shorter

time management meetingOh meetings- a necessary evil! Whether it’s because of one person who won’t stop talking, or a multi-page agenda sent out 5 minutes before, meetings have a tendency to drag on forever. Try these three tips to make your meetings more efficient:

1. Add times to your agenda

Agendas help keep meetings on topic and focused, but not necessarily on time! Adding times to your agenda convey how long you expect each topic to take. It’s much harder for someone to keep pressing an issue when it’s clearly only been allotted 5 minutes on the schedule. If it becomes apparent that an issue will need far more than the allotted time, then readjust, but not at the expense of letting the meeting run long.

2. Cut down the invite list

If you’ve ever counted ceiling tiles to stay awake in a meeting that didn’t pertain to you, you’ll agree that not everyone needs to be invited to every meeting. Only invite the people who will directly benefit from or contribute to the discussion in some way.

3. Postpone questions

If someone asks a question that doesn’t pertain to the whole group, answer it later offline. Making yourself available to answer questions is important, but not at the expense of everyone else in the group.

Face to face communication and brainstorming can be excellent tools when used properly. Don’t let “meeting” become a four letter word!

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How To Stop Wasting Your Time In Meetings

time management meeting“Oh, what a productive meeting! I was 100% enthralled with all 60 minutes of that conference room gathering” …said no one ever. Most people seem to agree that meetings can be a huge drain on our productivity, and yet they continue to plague our workday. Try these tips to turn your meetings from obligatory time fillers to shining examples of efficiency.

If You’re The Meeting Planner…

Schedule shorter meetings. Having a written agenda, keeping people on topic, and avoiding lengthy rambling icebreakers can all help make a meeting shorter, but if you’ve scheduled an hour for only 10 minutes of information, you’ll find a way to fill that extra time. If your meetings are usually an hour, try scheduling one for 30 minutes. If they are usually 30 minutes, try 15. Restricting your available time forces people to be brief and also respects everyone’s schedule.

If You’re a Meeting Attendee

It’s easy to recognize when other meeting attendees are wasting everyone’s time by veering off track and speaking just for the sake of speaking, but sometimes it’s hard to recognize when we’ve become that person! Before you interject, ask yourself: “Is this related to the agenda? Is it a question that will pertain to anyone else in the room?” If the answer is “No,” save it for another time.

Notice one of the self-questions isn’t “Is this important?” Just because something is important doesn’t mean it belongs in the meeting. That’s the purpose of an agenda – to determine which important things will be discussed right now.

Meetings don’t have to be a waste of time. Just keep your collaborations on track and to the point and everyone will leave happy.

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