September 28, 2020
In my last post, I talked about the reasons I like to end meetings early, from giving time back to my team to avoiding the traps of micromanagement. I know that ending meetings early is often easier said than done, so today I want to share five tips that will help you end your meetings early!
My first tip of starting your meetings on time may seem pretty obvious, but I’ve always been surprised how many leaders consistently begin their meetings five or ten minutes late. Keep in mind that it’s hard to accomplish your goals for your meetings and end a little early when you waste time right out of the gate. Make a commitment to yourself to be ready and prepared to start every meeting right on time, and set clear expectations for your team to do the same. Once you’ve established that as a routine, you’ll find it much easier to end your meetings early.
We’ve all had the unfortunate experience of being stuck in a long meeting that doesn’t seem to have any direction. The lack of purpose in these meetings make it a waste of time not just for your team, but for yourself. That’s why it’s important to go into every meeting you schedule with a firm purpose in mind. Before you start a meeting, take some time to nail down exactly what you want to accomplish. You may also find it helpful to create an agenda for the meeting and distribute it to your team ahead of time. Doing so will help everyone understand the purpose of the meeting and encourage them to accomplish it.
Once you’ve identified your purpose for the meeting, do your best to stay engaged and focused on accomplishing that purpose! While it’s natural for your meetings to get sidetracked from time to time, it’s your responsibility as a leader to keep everyone focused on the task at hand. Gently redirect everyone’s attention to what you’re all working to accomplish. That way, you’ll be able to complete the goals for the meeting and finish things early so everyone can get back to work.
Taking notes is a great way to ensure that your meetings are as effective and efficient as possible. Every leader has their own note-taking style, from writing things down themselves to having a designated note-taker taking digital notes and distributing them to the team. It doesn’t matter how you take your notes as long as you take them!
Of course, the way you organize your notes is also essential. Nothing is worse than digging through multiple notebooks trying to find notes from a meeting two weeks ago! Whether you keep your notes in a carefully labeled notebook or in a designated folder on your laptop, make sure that your notes are in a place where you can easily find and reflect on them.
It can be hard to overcome the mentality that when you schedule an hour-long meeting, you need to take up all sixty minutes. But once you’ve accomplished everything you needed to and have given your team time to raise any questions or concerns, forget about the clock and wrap things up early. Your team will have more time to get their work done, you’ll give time back to yourself, and everyone will be ready to hit the ground running. You may be surprised at how much of a difference this makes in your workplace!
Do you like ending your meetings early? What habits have you developed that help you do so? Let me know in the comment section. And if you missed my last post about why I like to end meetings early, be sure to check it out here!