Time Management - Lesson 12: Limit all Visits
Middle managers spend 80% of their time in meetings. Limit their duration and make them more productive!
Set a time limit
At the very beginning of the visit, select a time your visitor is not used to hearing. “Let’s meet for seventeen minutes.” This focuses attention on time and creates a greater sense of urgency.
Do not allow interruptions, particularly when visits have been previously scheduled
Interruptions take you off the subject, create disruption, and break the natural flow of the encounter.
Always keep a timepiece where you can see it
If you commit seventeen minutes for a meeting, then when about fifteen minutes have elapsed, you know it is time to summarize and bring the meeting to a close.
Use body language
Close your date book organizer, shuffle some papers slightly, and move farther out on the edge of your seat.
When the time comes for the visit to end, stand up
Don’t interrupt your visitor, but when it is your turn to speak, take the liberty of standing up and walking over to your visitor. By the time you arrive, your visitor is standing too.
Say, “It’s time for the meeting to end”
Or “Well, I guess that sums it up,” or “I certainly appreciate your dropping in.” Or “I really need to bring this meeting to a close.” Or “One more thing before you go.”
Give a summary for action
Summarizing points agreed to in the meeting will end the meeting efficiently and bring closure to it.
Have your secretary (spouse or child) interrupt you if necessary
You should provide your secretary with a prearranged time to interrupt you. You can respond to the interruption with a friendly, “We’ll be through in 5 minutes” if you want to wrap up the meeting or just thank your secretary if you want to continue the meeting. This same technique can be used at home when you receive a call while entertaining a guest. How you respond to this phone call tips off your guest as to whether the meeting is coming to a close or will continue.