Meetings take up a lot of the working day. Sometimes it feels like all of it. Going through all the ways to make meetings better could fill a book in itself. In this mail I’d like to focus on one idea to shorten meetings. How often have you found yourself in a meeting where the discussion seems to expand to fill the time scheduled? Even though all present had more than enough work waiting back at their desk, points were repeated, tangential topics were introduced.
One of the four principles behind the Open Space approach to meetings offers a simple remedy: when it’s over, it’s over. This means that when all that’s said that needs to be said, the meeting finishes, evens if it’s much earlier than expected. I recently chaired a meeting that was scheduled to take two hours. After 70 minutes all was said, actions were clear, decisions were taken. The others were grateful for the unexpected bonus of 50 minutes in their day.