We’ve all sat through meetings which go on and on and on. You end up almost losing the will to live and at the end of the meeting wonder if those hours of your life could have been put to better use. Below are some ideas which may help you ensure that the above doesn’t happen. This is by no means an exhaustive list so please feeL free to add your suggestions in the comments. Some of these are suggestions for the person chairing the meeting. Others are for all the attendees.
1. Hold meetings at a time and place which is convenient to all. This will ensure you are not waiting for people before you can start the meeting
2. Draw up a tightly focused agenda
3. Allocate time to each item on the agenda and during the meeting try and stick to that
4. Circulate papers to be considered at the meeting at least seven days in advance. Make it clear to everyone that papers tabled at the meeting will not be considered
5. Come prepared to the meeting, having read all the papers. Nothing is more annoying than waiting for someone who starts to read papers at the meeting
6. Ask everyone to notify you/clerk of any typos in the minutes before the meeting so meeting time isn’t wasted pointing these out and correcting them
7. Let everyone have their say but once they have, then rather than going around in circles wrap up the discussion and if a vote is required then ask everyone to vote and move on
8. If someone goes off on a tangent or starts to relate their war stories, gently bring them back on track
9. If you have a break during the meeting tell everyone the time you’ll reconvene
10. Make it clear to everyone that AOB is actually Any Other URGENT Business.