Planning the Agenda and Time-frame for a Business Meeting

Time management is a skill that all leaders or managers have to learn, especially when it relates to organizing meetings.   Participants at a meeting are less disoriented and more energetic and supportive when a meeting is scheduled the right way with the right duration of time. The type of meeting will determine how much time you will need for a meeting.

There are three types of business meetings.  They are;

  • for the purpose of imparting instructions / information, with little or no discussion
  • for the purpose of gathering information - may or may not have discussions, and
  • for the purpose of imparting instructions / information and for gathering information

 The former two are chiefly one sided and the third type involves an entire team discussion or debate which is interactive.

 Time allotment is based on what is scheduled on the meeting agenda, which is based on the type of the meeting.  Hence, a typical agenda outlines the events of a meeting, alongside which an approximate time is allotted for each event.

 Opening note: 

The person chairing the meeting gives the opening note.  Here, he / she mentions the intention behind the meeting and also the scope of the meeting or what it should result in.  Highlights from previous meetings may also be mentioned, but this initial activity on the agenda requires just a few minutes to get the participants focused.

Sharing of reports, paperwork, documents, logs, printouts, etc:

This again takes about a minute or two, where the speaker may or may not elaborate on the said reports.

Presentation 1: 

There may be one or many speakers / participants making presentations or speeches to support a particular business agenda.  This is a pre-allotted time, where the speaker has to come prepared to make the presentation or talk for that fixed amount of time.  IT may be a short or a long presentation and time has to be allotted for this. 

Discussion / Storming / Norming:

Time should be allotted for discussions and interactive sessions if it follows the third type of meeting.  It should not be too short where all participants do not get a chance to voice their opinions nor should it be too long which can make the meeting go off track.

More presentations:

Multiple presentations may be on the agenda which will again be followed by discussions as in above points. These two steps (presentations and discussions) will continue for as many presentations that are on the list.

Minutes of the meeting:

A few minutes have to be specified for the minutes of the meeting.  This is just a brief summary of the meeting that took place and highlights the key features of the presentations and discussions.

Closing note: 

The chairperson concludes the meeting with the closing speech.  This is the note that brings the meeting to a close, is brief, and needs just a minute or two. 

Proper planning of the meeting agenda will help determine how much time is required for a meeting. Practice at conducting meetings will go a long way in perfecting the art of time management in the 'business-meeting world'.

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