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Business Tip #9: Be respectful of everyone’s time

Time is a precious commodity. Especially when you spend most of the day in business meetings, it is hard to find the time to get everything you need done. I go through so many meetings during the day where I really don’t have a free spot to focus. It’s always about picking up the phone and listening to a variety of different topics. I am not discrediting the need for online meetings, but more often than not, these meetings go over the allotted amount of time. Instead of a half hour meeting, it extends into a 45 minute meeting. Instead of an hour meeting, it can turn into an hour and a half. Because of this, other meetings might be moved or maybe because you don’t show up to another important meeting, it gets cancelled.

All of this confusion can easily be avoided if we remember to be respectful of everyone’s time. When a meeting is only scheduled for half an hour, timebox the agenda items and at the half hour mark politely interrupt everyone and ask first if it is ok to extend the call. This simple courtesy goes a long way for all members involved because it gives them the option to choose which meeting is the most important to them instead of just keeping everyone on a call and making it a sort of obligation to stay on. The more we can be respectful of everyone’s time, the more productive everyone can be.

Another helpful tip is to make sure that in meetings that you try to invite only those that are absolutely necessary. There is nothing more counter productive than to be on a meeting with 20+ people only to say the occasional “Yes I agree” in the conversation. Keep the individuals to a minimum but do send out meeting notes to anyone that could find use from them. In this way, you can spend less time in the call too since you will have the most important people there to drive the conversation quickly and you will find less people multitasking on the call.

With these tips, you might be able to make your coworkers a bit happier in the day when they can spend less time in a meeting and more time getting work done 🙂

The Lermz

Michael Lerma graduated the University of Notre Dame in 2009 with an Information Technology Management degree. He is currently a senior Project Manager with the Nielsen Company.

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