One Easy Way to Shorten Your Meetings

On any given day, I have meetings to attend.  You probably do too.  The problem is that most meetings go longer than they should.  

So how can you shorten them, outside of cancelling them altogether?  Before I tell you, let's call out something that routinely happens in schools.  Our meetings "linger" and lingering can add up over time.

Lingering is the process at the beginning of a meeting when folks make small talk. It's also present at the end of a meeting when folks know that they are done but hang around anyway.

Why does this happen?  "Nice guy syndrome" could be one culprit. We just find it hard to say that we're done and as a result, we hang out for just a few minutes to chit-chat and talk.  The problem is that this behavior can add five minutes here and five minutes there. 

Before you know it, your five minutes here and there have added up to a half hour over the course of a workday and possibly hours over the course of a month.  I just don't have that kind of time to spend on chit-chat and I bet you don't either.

Here's a solution that works well for me and my team: when the meeting is done, use a verbal trigger and simply stand up.  Our trigger is "ok we're good, thank you everyone" and we disperse.  Standing up will feel harsh at first but after a while, folks will get used to it.

Most importantly, you'll start using your time more efficiently and maximize your day.

Question: what works for you when it comes to ending meetings on  time?