As we all know, business meetings waste a great deal of time. Meetings are supposed to help employees in improving their productivity and thoroughness. However, somehow all the meetings get off track and thus are a waste of time. Meetings are supposed to be brief and to-the-point, extending them to discuss other topics doesn’t make any sense.
Here are some ways for keeping meetings on track and achieve the desired output from every meeting you ever attend:
Define a time frame
Every meeting that is ever held should have a start and an end time. You cannot expect a meeting to be on track and be brief enough if you do not define a specific time limit within which it is supposed to end and end with an output. Share the meeting schedule with all the members, who are supposed to be a part of the meeting. Mentioning the meeting’s agenda is equally important as defining the time frame.
Allocate time slots for each topic on the agenda
More often than not the agenda has many topics that are to be discussed during the meeting. Allocating specific time slots to each topic of the agenda will give surety that all the topics are discussed and the goal of the meeting is achieved within the time limit. Also, you need to determine if the given topic needs you to take some decision, find alternatives or is for simply sharing information.
Keeping aside the irrelevant topics
Many off course topics will come up as you will discuss the topics on your agenda. You should have a ‘parking lot’ for all the topics which are off track but needs to be discussed at some point in time. All these topics can be discussed later when the need arises. Whenever someone comes up with an off track topic, you can simply address them by saying, ”Let’s reserve it for later.” Or “That’s a great idea, let's allot another time slot to discuss it further.” Thus, you won’t need to address those topics and can keep business meetings on track.
Not assuming it’s a leader’s job to keep business meetings on track
Whether you the team leader or a team member, you need to make sure that the meeting revolves around the agenda and is not diverted to something really irrelevant. Having a one-leader-in-a-room mindset and relying on the leader to keep the discussion on track, especially when the leader has no clue that the meeting is getting off track, will waste everyone’s time.