If you would have to name one flaw in consultations and meetings, it's that they almost always take too long. If you are able to decide on the planning yourself, however, there are a number of techniques that can help you in keeping the meetings as short and efficient as possible, says entrepreneur Brad Feld in the magazine Quartz.
Brad Feld has experience in the matter, because being the CEO of the venture capital group Foundry, he spends most of his days in business meetings and consultations. What stands out to him, is that all the meetings that other people plan, consistently have to take an hour. If he or his assistant plan a meeting, they consciously just plan half an hour to do it. That is his first tip for managers who want to use their time as efficiently as possible.
1. Thirty minutes is ideal
Feld has tested meetings of all possible lengths. Only the meetings of thirty minutes proved to be really efficient. "15 minutes might be sufficient for one meeting, but if you plan three of those meetings in one hour, you're worn out at the end of the day", he argues. "If the limit of half an hour is exceeded, you have to set boundaries to prevent people from loafing around and unnecessary talk, because the participants will think that there's plenty of time to discuss everything."
2. Organise your meeting during a walk, instead of in the office
If you only want to meet with one or two people at a time, you don't have to use your office or a meeting room. If you have a regular walking route of about half an hour, your meeting partner is forced to make do with the time given. Moreover, that way you also get a little exercise to top it off.
3. Try to conclude everything as quickly as possible
Try to get your meeting partners to be as professional and to the point as possible. When you get the feeling that they are only talking about the birds and the bees, you can give the signal that the meeting is over. After all; the fact that a half hour or an hour has been planned for a meeting doesn't mean that you actually have to use all of that time.
4. Plan your telephone meetings as much as possible
For physical meetings and consultations, most managers use their agenda, but for phone calls that seldom happens. Still, you can predetermine most phone calls that you have to handle in a day. You could therefore also plan them and make sure they don't take too long. "Of course, you don't do this with important customers or with the CEO, because you want to give those parties the feeling that you will always make time for them."