Challenge Your Thinking

Take Charge of Your Meeting Time!

When I start working with a new client one of my first questions I ask is about the culture of meetings within the organization. What I'm looking for is really how much time is being lost or wasted in non-productive meetings. Here are some tips about taking charge of meetings when you are not in charge .

  • When you get the meeting agenda or calendar request, let the organizer know that you have a limited window and will need the meeting to start/end by X
  • Only accept meeting requests that include an agenda. If you don't get an agenda, ask the meeting organizer, "what is this meeting for? How should I prepare?
  • If possible, block 10-15 minutes of time before each meeting so you don't get scheduled back to back. And, use that time to review the agenda items for your meeting and prepare for the discussion so that you can contribute actively.
  • When you arrive at the meeting, announce to the meeting organizer that you have to leave at X time (and then leave when you said you would!)
  • As the meeting comes to within the last 10 minutes of its stated length, try to encourage a prompt ending by saying, "Since we only have 10 minutes, what agenda items should we focus on in the remaining time?" or "Since we only have 10 more minutes for this meeting, should we schedule another meeting for the remaining items?"
  • Be mindful of your own distractions; pay full attention to the meeting rather than multi-tasking. Model the behavior you want to see in your colleagues.
  • If you must take a call or respond to an email, apologize and leave the meeting for a moment or let the organizer know that you may be receiving an important call and will leave temporarily to take it. Considering the other participants is a sign of respect.
  • Ask the meeting organizer to clarify the use of technology in the meeting and announce the policy to everyone

I have drafted this letter to share with you the tremendous positive impact Norman’s Executive Coaching services have had on me, the department that I lead and the company at large.

I began to work with Norman in 2013 as an Executive Coach; I was seeking his advice to chart the vision for Finance as the company was growing quickly. As part of the process Norman conducted a 360 Degree assessment by interviewing my colleagues at the Executive level as well as our CEO. This exercise would help me gain valuable insight as to what they felt my strengths and areas for improvement were in role of CFO. In addition, he worked with me on a personality profile to better understand how my style would work within the organizational culture and expectations of my role. This was an enlightening experience that set the tone for the areas that I would be working on to achieve a higher level of success within the organization.

Marianne Caserta, CPA, CGMA, MBA,
Chief Financial Officer

Executive Coaching & Consulting - Boston, MA

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