5 Strategies to Gain 60 Minutes or More From Your Next Meeting

Julie McKeon

Meetings can be time wasters, so STOP the cycle and gain time It’s 8:45, Monday morning and my second week at CSD. I’m heading into …

Meetings can be time wasters, so STOP the cycle and gain time

It’s 8:45, Monday morning and my second week at CSD. Egg timerI’m heading into our 9 am meeting. I show up confidently with 15 minutes to spare, Starbucks in hand and ready to shine.

I open the door and do a double take. Everyone is already there. I slide into my seat while double checking my watch – yes, I’m early. At that moment, I realized that working at a company specializing in efficiency takes things to a whole new level. I would definitely have to step up my game.

Fast forward to today. I’m well-adjusted to CSD meetings – I’ve learned some valuable tips and techniques along the way. Let me shine some light on how CSD facilitates meetings and how we gain at least 30 to 60 minutes by working smarter, not harder.

1. Create a Meeting Agenda – Our agendas are prepared 3 days in advance and always displayed for all to see in bright colours. Sub-topics are clearly defined to help us stay on track. Time is precious and our meetings have agendas with clear purposes. We believe that detailed preparation leaves little room for distractions and keeps attendees’ full attention.

2. Display Meeting Rules – A set of creative meeting rules are displayed on the wall and followed throughout meetings. Now, when you first think of meeting rules what comes to mind? Maybe you feel a bit intimidated or overwhelmed? Take heart – our rules are different. Personally, I feel that these rules empower me to speak my mind, be innovative and confidently contribute without judgment.  For example: Be flexible in your thinking – out of the box thinking is required

3. Plan Ahead – CSD takes pride in its attention to detail. We pay close attention to even the most minor arrangements. As an example, lunch orders are taken once attendees arrive at CSD and are called in prior to our 9 a.m. start. Time is not lost discussing the various delicious options. (At that first meeting, I just selected the first thing that caught my eye on the menu.)

4. Take a Break – Once we adjourn for a break, everyone takes the opportunity to replenish and rejuvenate. CSD believes in balance. Nothing is worse than sitting through meetings with little or no break to clear your mind.

5. Be Open to New IdeasAdriana has a way about her that inspires people to participate and contribute during a meeting. Personally, I never feel discouraged, nor am I afraid to be seen and heard. Meetings are much more efficient and productive when everyone is able to suggest new and innovative strategies without fear of judgment. All ideas are captured on Adriana’s parking lot list for future review.

Meetings can be a huge time waster. Incorporate these five strategies into your next gathering and you’ll gain time – it’s amazing!

Finally, I’d like to share three things that I do to prepare for morning meetings:

  • Set my alarm 60 minutes earlier on days that start with meetings. Arrive at work with ample time to spare.
  • Compile a list of ideas that are relevant to the meeting topic. I review related topics five days in advance and write down my talking points to create a checklist. I also prepare any items I want to include on the agenda and forward them to the meeting organizer within 24 hours of receiving notice of the meeting.
  • Review – It pays to plan ahead.  Try to go over simple details that may be easily overlooked, like lunch. The ham sandwich I chose in haste didn’t compare to my co-worker’s grilled veggie and goat cheese sandwich on a fresh bun.

These points may sound like common sense but common sense is not always common practice. That’s how I feel about efficiency, too. Being efficient is simple – it starts with critical thinking that brings logic and common sense together.

Work smarter, not harder by making a few simple changes to the way you prepare for meetings.  Always remember that people appreciate your acknowledgement that their time is valuable.

Has there been a time when you were totally unprepared for a meeting? What was the outcome? Was it a lesson learned in time management? Feel free to leave a comment below or shout out to us on Facebook or Twitter. Of course, you could always write your own blog post on the subject and share it with us… We’d love to read it!

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Julie McKeon was a project coordinator with CornerStone Dynamics Inc. Julie's 'What the heck' blogs explore the editorial calendar from a new-comer’s perspective.

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