Meetings are one of the common ways that many of us get work done on the job. We may discuss issues, share new information and make important decisions in meetings, but they can also be one of the ways that time is wasted in the workplace. A timed agenda can be a great way of keeping meetings on track and making sure that meetings not only begin and end on time, but that each topic also gets its just allotted time.
A timed agenda is simply a written agenda that allocates a certain amount of time to each agenda items. Of course, the participants might not need all the time allotted but it contributes to some pre-planning and makes sure that one topic does not take up all the participants’ energy and resources. Of course, for a timed agenda to work, all the participants have to adhere to it and use a clock to stay on schedule. Be sure to take into account time to make introductions, vote on business items, or tend to other details that take up time.
One of the main benefits of a timed agenda (other than time efficiency) is that it forces the participants to plan for the meeting in advance. This keeps unnecessary topics from taking up time and focus. It also forces the group to prioritize to fit within the time constraints. While you will want to allow for enough time to discuss topics and do business, if it looks like something is running over, it may be necessary to table it or create another action plan to honor the other agenda items.
A timed agenda also lets participants know how much time they will have for reports, questions, new business, etc. in advance so they can be prepared. It can be so inefficient to ask for a report from someone at a meeting who had no idea that she or he was going to be asked to report.
A timed agenda can keep meetings lean and functional, and contribute to decent time management as well.