Q: How to ensure a meeting keeps to time?
A: The most obvious point is to have a clock in your line of sight. It’s a good idea to have allocated times for each item on the agenda and then you can track of how well the meeting is keeping to time. It’s also important to correct any time-keeping problems as early as possible – you don’t want to arrive at the last few minutes with a lot of things still to discuss or decide on.
In larger meetings, it may be worth appointing someone (other than the chair) to keep track of time and give them authority to speak up if time-keeping starts to slip.
Also beware a version of Parkinson’s law – if people notice they are ahead of time in a meeting, there’s a tendency to digress or waffle just so the meeting keeps going until its allotted finishing time. Try to avoid dragging out the meeting longer than is necessary as it’s fine to finish ahead of schedule – in fact many participants will be glad of extra time for other things if you do finish early.
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