In a meeting facilitator’s role, one of the most challenging is time management. Time is limited and constrained in a meeting, so there are times when time runs out before the meeting is even adjourned, leaving some issues untouched and some tasks unassigned.
The facilitator must make sure that all issues are thoroughly discussed and the process is completed upon the given time expectation. Keeping track of time can be achieved through the help of the participants.
Factors of Time Management in Meetings
Knowing the purpose and the need to conduct a meeting in person is important since meetings are sometimes costly and uses up employee’s work productivity. So always evaluate whether the meeting is necessary or not, the benefits it can bring to the group, and whether there are other options to talk about the issues apart from holding a meeting.
Perhaps, if the issues are trivial, it can be done through a conference call or emailed to the members. If the information to be delivered does not need thorough deliberation such as an implementation of a new company policy, probably it can be disseminated through a company memo.
Proper timing for the meeting should utilize people’s time productively and not interrupt their more important functions. So, in choosing a date and time schedule, make sure that the meeting is productive for everyone.
In most organizations, Mondays and Fridays are usually the more preferred days of the workweek in holding meetings. Monday meetings help a team start the week with new projects and assignments and ensure proper delegation. Friday meetings wrap things up for the week and are best for resolution or decision making.
Meeting agenda is an important factor in time management. It specifically indicates the timeframes set for each agenda item including breaks. Setting time allocations for each discussion topic keeps the participants focused on the key issues and ensures that the meeting starts and ends on time. Consider the structure of the meeting process. Check whether it makes best use of people’s time.
The meeting facilitator plays a very important role as the time keeper and watcher in a meeting. Make sure that this person can be trusted when it comes to keeping the flow and process moving with everyone being able to contribute and participate in the discussion.
Meeting Time and Dates
Choosing a convenient meeting date contributes to an effective time management in meetings. People do not just consider the essence of time during the course of the meeting but also during their daily work activities. During hectic schedules, it is difficult to gather people for a meeting. So the meeting date has to be carefully selected.
Avoid keeping on changing the dates of a meeting. This only causes inconvenience in having to resend meeting requests over and over. If team meetings repeat on a regular basis, get the members to agree on a fixed meeting schedule, specifying the day of the week to gather, and this agreement should be done in the first session.
For issues that can be discussed in a quick span of time, breakfast meetings can be scheduled. If you wish the individuals to be conscious of the time for the meeting, schedule it during odd times like 1:25pm or 9:15am. Irregular time schedules will encourage punctuality as members are not used to attending meetings at these time schedules.
Simple Tips for Meeting Facilitators
Meeting organizers must stick to the time no matter what. Meetings should start even if there are late participants. Despite the arrival of latecomers, do not start from the top and review what has been already discussed as it only wastes the time of those who came early for the meeting. Additionally, it messes up the meeting agenda.
There must be an assigned individual to do the note-taking in meetings. This person is responsible for recording the minutes of the meeting. With the recorded details of the meeting, the facilitator will have a basis on how to restructure the course of future meetings.
Facilitators should always stay focused in every agenda item. Some topics need to be delegated to assigned topic builders prior to the start of the meeting so that they come prepared.
Time management is very essential making effective and productive meetings. Goals are easily achieved with a value for time during meetings.