Meeting Planning; Cut Your Projected Time in Half

I was in a meeting with a team I’d never worked with before.  They were preparing for another meeting with some very important people to go over the results of a six month study.  They planned on using 1.5 hours to summarize how the study was conducted as well as the key findings.

As the conversation wore on, there was concern that 1.5 hours was not enough.  With multiple people talking about a variety of data points, there was fear someone would run over.  A legitimate concern.  But, what should they do about that?

As the ideas flew someone asked me what I thought.  My response definitely got their attention!  “Don’t increase your time.  Cut it in half instead.  Figure out what the key points you’d like to cover are and focus on those vs. everything.  Then practice a few times to see where you end up.  This audience is not going to want to get into the weeds.”

I thought for a minute I had grown a third eye with the looks shot my way.  How can we cut a meeting in half when don’t feel we have enough time already?  How can we determine which stats are the most important?  Why is this asshole even speaking since he’s not part of our core group?  I’m sure there were more internal comments for people around the table.

I want meetings to run as efficiently as possible.  It starts with knowing your audience.  Are they detailed people or want it at a high level and can ask questions if needed?  From there, you can focus on other questions to ensure you’re providing the right level of information.  Can we provide them with the details after the presentation?  Do we have contacts if there are questions?

Next time you’re planning a meeting and wondering if you’ll have enough time, cut it in half.  You’ll be surprised what you can do with focused time.


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