A Guide to Keeping Meetings On Time

Keeping meetings on time is just as important as any other part of our Toastmaster meetings. Not only will it get people out of the meeting at the expected time, but it will also give those who have meeting roles and officer positions a chance to practice time management, meet the expectations of our guests to leave on time, and improve the overall quality of the meeting.

Here are a few ways to keep meetings run on time and to readjust if needed:

  1. Strive to always start the meeting on time. This is probably the most important rule if you’re going to end your meeting on time. We also don’t want our guests to have any sort of negative impression of our meeting right from the start.
  2. Ensure your business meeting is concise and impactful. A business meeting that focuses on certain topics for too long can set the meeting off-track from the get-go. If you’re giving an update, try to be concise and to the point. Alternatively, if you are running the business meeting, make sure you keep things running along and on time.
  3. Keep an eye on the clock. If meetings aren’t running as outlined on the agenda, try to readjust by cutting table topics a few minutes short or shortening breaks. This is mainly the job of both the timer and the Toastmaster. If things are running behind, your club President may want to help things move along.
  4. Utilize the timeframes outlined in speech manuals. Each speech provides a suggested timeframe of which your speech should adhere to. Try to stick within that range when delivering your speech. This will also help you deliver an effective speech by challenging you to cut out anything that might not be necessary. If delivering an off-manual speech, it’s important to keep it to 7-8 minutes or less.
  5. End the meeting as effectively as possible. Again, if you are sharing and announcement or an update, be as concise and direct as possible to keep things running on time. If something needs more attention, save it for the next business meeting, deliver via email, or meet with your club officers to discuss and have the secretary note it in the minutes.

Time management is an important skill in all aspects in life. With these tips and tricks, you can keep your meetings flowing smoothly, have your guests out on time and improve your skills while at it!

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