By Jody Long When someone tells you “that was a good meeting”, they are probably referring to one of a couple things. It was either: A) You didn’t waste their time, and meet to just to meet, or B) It was informational, planned well, and not boring. Or hopefully a combination of both! Some factors that play a role in “meeting killers” or things that usually can get a meeting off course are: · Tardiness of the speaker · Tardiness of the attendees · Difficulties with meeting technology · Off-topic discussions, or rambling attendees Here are some time-saving tips to think about as you plan your next (efficient) meeting: · Attendee preparation. Prepare the attendees before the meeting (Do they need to download a certain software in order to participate? Do they need to have a list or notes prepared ahead of time for the meeting?) · Start on time. Get in this habit even if there are only a handful of people in the room. It will set the tone for future meetings. It will also show that you’re respecting those who showed up on time. · Have an agenda. Think about sending it out to all attendees beforehand, so they know what to expect from the day. · Have a purpose. No one likes to attend a meeting where they don’t know what they’re meeting about, and they may feel it will be a waste of time. Indicate the purpose in the agenda. · Distribute materials beforehand. This will be a time-saver on the day of the meeting. · Set up early, test all AV. · Introductions. Does it make sense to do introductions, or will it waste time? · Watch the clock. Consider assigning someone this task. · Off-topic discussions. These can slow down the meeting, so be sure to write them down and save them for later. · Keep the discussions moving. Get creative juices flowing by having prepared questions or topics. Ask questions to certain attendees, encourage participation, and try to draw everyone in. · Schedule lunch time. Double check what time food will be ready · Schedule break times. Schedule several throughout the day, but keep them short. · Follow Up. Be sure to follow up after the meeting, send out notes/minutes, remaining topics to be discussed at the next meeting, etc. This will also help reassure attendees that it was an important meeting. Also be sure to thank them for their time and participation.