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In this course, author and business coach Dave Crenshaw teaches you to get the most from your meetings—turning them into productive avenues for communicating, connecting, and accomplishing real work. The course demonstrates a simple, usable framework that will help you lead and participate in meetings large and small and provides insight into how to schedule, conduct, and follow up on meetings with minimum time and maximum results.
The first step on the agenda is to begin on time. I view time like a budget. Stay within your time budget and you will be more productive and relaxed. Exceed your time budget and you will be unproductive and have more stress. It's the meeting leader's responsibility to make sure that the group stays within the budget. The agenda we provided is fairly straightforward on suggestions for dividing your meeting time. When it comes to the development presentation, ensure that it's brief, five minutes at the most.
This will require you to be well prepared, and this course will include some quick and easy tips to help you prepare and teach the development. Next, when each person reports on the commitments they made in the last meeting, be as brief as possible. Keep the reporting to under five minutes. The most fluid portion of your time budget deals with how much time each attendee has to be heard. For example, let's say that you have a 60-minute meeting that ends at 11 o'clock, and you complete the development and reporting by 10:15, so there are 45 minutes remaining.
Subtract five minutes from that to leave time for wrap up at the end. This leaves 40 minutes. If you have five participants in the meeting, including the meeting leader, divide 40 by 5, and you end up with 8 minutes for each attendee. Then the meeting leader should set up a timer, so that each person knows exactly how much time they have. Let the timer be the enforcer of the time budget rather than you as the individual. People are much more comfortable with the clock beeping at them than with the leader saying, "It's time for you to stop talking." Using our example, we have set the timer for 8 minutes.
Then immediately begin with the first attendee. The leader can listen attentively to each person and occasionally glance at the clock. I recommend that you give each person a brief reminder one minute before the time is up. In the beginning, people may be a little uncomfortable with the concept of being so careful with the clock. They may feel it restrictive. Typically though, by the third or fourth meeting conducted this way, people understand and they respect the clock. They understand that it not only helps them be heard, but the people around them as well.
Stick with the time budget and you'll find that meetings become a much more effective use of your time.
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