Keep Things on Topic to Save Time
One of the ways to keep a meeting on track is to have a strict time limit allotted for each subject. This will keep people from dissolving into a debate and going on tangents. Attendees will also be more likely to leave feeling the meeting was a success because all the scheduled topics were discussed.
What Should You Do When Topics Do Not End Naturally?
If a topic is particularly heated and does not seem to be coming to a close, it should be halted once the allotted time has passed. Participants who have more concerns can send comments in an email. Additionally, those comments can be noted and saved for the next meeting. A meeting needs to have a sense of organization, or it can easily run into chaos. People do not appreciate being held longer in a meeting than necessary. Many attendees have other things they need to do. This is why it is so important to keep to the schedule. Staying on track keeps everyone happy.
Learn from Mistakes
Did one of the topics not need its full time allotment? Was another topic in dire need of an extra five minutes? If you learn from your scheduling mistakes, then the next meetings will be more successful. Not all topics are equal and therefore do not require the same time limit.
You can also ask everyone to leave their emails at the start of the meeting and send them a copy of the minutes. They will be able to add comments or concerns to everyone in the email. If a particular subject is deemed important enough, it can be discussed again at the meeting. Emails are easy because people can read them and respond to them on their own time.
If someone wants to discuss something in particular, you can include a special time allotment for them; for instance, there is five minutes at the end of the meeting for people to share their thoughts.
Once you have figured out the right time table for a meeting, everyone will be much happier with the experience. It may take some time to get used to this new format, but they will appreciate the effort to stay on track and on time. In the end, that’s all everyone wants when attending meetings.