Strategies for Effective Time Management
If someone turns up late and interrupts the current speaker to ask what they have missed, do not derail the meeting further by providing them with a recap. Politely inform them that you will fill them in at the break (if applicable) or after the meeting, and that all important matters will be in the minutes. This then allows the speaker to carry on with what they were saying with a minimum of time wasted. That being said, consider office politics here – if the latecomer is a VIP, it might be prudent to provide a brief rundown before resuming the meeting.
Setting Time Limits on Agenda Items
Another way to keep to a tight schedule is to add a time limit to each agenda item. Where this is practicable, it often prompts speakers to keep their remarks brief, again making your role as a facilitator easy. If you find all the agenda items have been covered satisfactorily in a timely manner, then it may even be possible to dismiss the meeting “early", a move guaranteed to make your colleagues happy.
Never Allow a Meeting to Run Late
The most important issue regarding time-keeping is never to allow a meeting to go over time. By starting precisely on time, sticking to your agenda and keeping a close eye on the clock, it is fairly easy to make sure everyone gets to leave on time as well. As a facilitator, ensuring your meetings end in a timely manner illustrates that you value your attendees’ time. And for those people heading to another meeting, you avoid doing a disservice to your fellow facilitators!
Good time-keeping does not exist in a vacuum, however; it is made possible by being organized.