Let’s talk about meetings

Meetings. Many meetings. That’s what’s going on in my job. Not that I have to attend many of them (there’s probably about five meetings that I actually attend). But I do schedule them. Quite a few of them, in fact.

Given the large project I’m working on . . . yes, meetings need to happen. The team meets to coordinate tasks or discuss design. Then the team meets with the Program Administrator and/or the Deputy Program Administrator to brief them on project status or get the okay-to-proceed. And the Program Administrators have to brief upward to their leadership—more meetings.

So I get it; I really do. Meetings are a necessity on large engineering projects.

What I don’t get (but am learning to live with), is how those leading the meetings can easily allow the meeting to not start on time, or allow it to run past the calendared time.

We could try to find the root cause of why the meeting started late, or why it ran over. Sometimes it’s obvious—the meeting leader chose to wait until all attendees had arrived. (But trickle that down and you’ll have to ask why those attendees were late. Because the meeting they just left ran over?)

Is it just me? Am I the only one who cares if a meeting starts on time and ends on time?

I just don’t get why the meeting leader doesn’t put more of an effort into making sure the meeting starts on time. And then managing the meeting so it ends on time.

Is it just me? Am I the only one who thinks it’s the meeting leader’s job to make sure their meeting starts on time and ends on time?

If you’re the meeting leader—I’m curious as to why you don’t start the meeting on time. I’m curious why you can’t control the discussion so the meeting ends on time.

I have a simple solution.

Get a timekeeper! Ask (or assign) someone to keep an eye on the time. If the topic is going longer than planned—ding ding ding! (Or whatever form it takes to indicate time’s up).

That should help, ya think?

BTW, once you’re in the groove of keeping track of meeting time, you know what your agenda should look like, right? It has to have time blocks listed for each agenda item. (Ugh—please don’t tell me you don’t have agendas for your meetings; that’s a whole ‘nother discussion area!)