How to Keep Meetings Short and Sweet

Stick to an agenda, set a deadline and other ways to get the most from everyone's time

Written by PROFIT staff

We asked PROFIT readers if their companies have any formal or informal practices to discourage meetings from running too long. While only 40% of respondents said yes, they offered some excellent insights on how they do it.

Here are the best answers.

DeeAnn Lensen:

“We always announce the length of the meeting when it is set. If it is a conference call, we reiterate the end time during the call if it seems that people are ‘chatting’ on.”

David Huggins:

“Set both start and finish times, but enforce flexibly. Prior posting of agenda is mandatory. Set timing for discussion on each item, and specify the desired outcome.”

Jacques Racicot:

“My experience is that most people find meetings too long because they do not establish an estimate of the time allowed at the beginning of the meeting. You should consider this task the same way as when you agree to a price for a definite purchase order. The difference between the price and the cost is your profit. So, if you finish the object of the meeting before the allowed time that participants commit to, you have a profit.  If not, you have a loss and you go down the drain if you persist! Take the time to estimate the time. In time, you will save time!”

Lynn Kitchen:

“For staff meetings, each person on our team gets the opportunity to chair the meeting.  Everyone grows from the experience and keeping the time is an excellent indicator of whether you chaired the meeting well.”

Originally appeared on PROFITguide.com