How valuable is your time?
Watch this video clip and tell me if it changes your perception of the value of time.
Time Is A Commodity
Most people will agree that time is a precious commodity. However not everyone will hold your time in such regard. Which is why it is important that you do.
There have been many times during my career when I have arrived at a clients site, only to be told that they had forgotten I was coming and they have double-booked the appointment, sending me away.
I have also attended many meetings where afterwards I have asked myself, was that meeting really necessary?
So I asked myself, what could I do differently to avoid having my valuable time wasted, and over the years I found little steps that would take which seemed to work.
Here are six steps, which if you follow should help you to hold effective meetings.
Send out a Calendar Invite: (Give as much notice to all attendees as possible, include a time, date, location and duration for the meeting, suggest who will be the note taker and remember whoever controls the notes, controls the actions) This step helps ensure that the meeting appears in the calendar of the person you are planning to meet assuming that they accept;
State the Objective(s) for the meeting: (Clearly state any and all objectives for the meeting) This step will clarify the reason why the meeting is taking place and help all of the attendees determine if they need to be there.
Include a ‘Proposed Agenda’ for the meeting: (List all of the items that will be covered in the meeting, Ensure that there is an item on the agenda to capture actions or next steps, Where possible state the times and responsibility for each agenda item) This step will help ensure that the meeting is as productive as possible, by including a chronological agenda list it will help ensure that the objective for the meeting is being covered fully in a methodical manner.
List any materials or items required for the meeting: (Ensure that any materials, information or equipment required for the meeting to take place will be available – This can be done by assigning the responsibility to one of the participants to bring the relevant item, For example projector, screen, handouts etc) This step helps ensure that the meeting can take place without having to be re-scheduled because relevant information required for the meeting is not available etc.
Solicit feedback from attendees: (Include in the invite the opportunity for participants to add or modify agenda items, It is also the reason that we call Step 3 – ‘Proposed Agenda’) This step helps ensure that all of the participants feel that their thoughts and ideas for the meeting will be given consideration and that they are invested in the meeting.
Send a ‘Confirmation Email’: (Send a meeting confirmation notice once everyone has responded to the invite the day before the meeting) This step helps avoid last minute cancellations to meetings, it can also be the reason that meetings are cancelled the day before, but it’s far more productive for you to know the day before that a meeting is not going ahead, then on the day at the meeting location. At least this way you have some time to make use of the calendar space that has been freed up.
Hopefully these tips will help you in your quest to make the most of your time and help to ensure that you have productive and useful meetings with your clients, partners and colleagues.
I would suggest adopting with people who want to meet with you, that if any of these items or steps have been missed, asking the question? “So what is the objective for this meeting?” or “So that we can ensure that this meeting is as productive as possible, could you please forward me an agenda?” this is a fairly non-confrontational way of holding others accountable to not waste your time.
I hope you find these steps as useful as I have over the years, good luck and please let me know how you make out.
If you are interested in learning more about time management and associated skills feel free to reach out to me to find out about the Brand New Time Management training course from Base Over Apex.