Video: A Time Management Tip That Can Cut 17 Minutes Off Meetings
Here's a very simple time management tip that can cut 17 minutes from most meetings you sit in: have a Statement of Achievement. What is that? Well, we did a survey recently. We asked people coming out of meetings: "The meeting you were just in, did it accomplish its original objective?" We gave people 3 choices, "Yes," "No," and "I have no idea." Sadly, the most common answer wasn't "Yes," and the most answer wasn't "No." The most common answer was, "I have no idea."
Why? Because they didn't have a clear objective for the meeting they were just in. That’s poor time management. How many times have you sat through a meeting where you're like, "I don't really know what the point of this meeting is,” or “I don't know how I'm supposed to judge, other than looking at the clock, when this meeting is over."
A Statement of Achievement is a time management tool that is one sentence that basically says, "As a result this meeting we will have achieved, ________." I don't care what blank is, but the blank has to be something. So perhaps the blank is: as a result of this meeting we will have picked a price for the proposal we're submitting to the Johnson account. Or maybe it’s: as a result of this meeting we will have decided which of the three clinical safety protocols we're going to move forward with. Or it could be: as a result of this meeting, we will have decided who is going to be in-charge of next week's employee lunch.
Whatever it is, as long as you have a crystal clear objective for your meetings, you now have two important things needed to implement this time management tool. One, you have some purpose, which is great. But two, one of the reasons why meetings get fluffy and last too long and do a poor job at time management is that we don't have a clear objective. The only way we know that the meeting is over is when the bell rings and tells us the 60 minutes is up, or whatever. No wonder so many meetings suffer from poor time management.
If you have 20 minutes of content in a meeting but a 60-minute time block, how long does the meeting last? 60 minutes, right? If you have 37 minutes worth of content in a 60-minute time block, how long does the meeting last? 60 minutes. Why? Because we don't have a crystal clear objective that says, "As soon as we accomplish the Statement of Achievement, the meeting is over.
With the Statement of Achievement you are taking control of time management by saying, "As a result of this meeting, we will have achieved picking a new price for the proposal for the Johnson account." Wonderful. Once you have that, you can say to the rest of the group, "Listen folks, here's our objective, here's our Statement of Achievement for the meeting today. As soon as we accomplish this, meeting's over." That means everybody around the room now starts looking at each other saying, “Yeah, let's not talk about last night's basketball game. Let's not talk about the episode of The Bachelor who won or whatever, and hey is that show even still on?” Instead we say, "Now let's settle all that aside and let's just get this thing done so we can all get out of here."
What we find is when organizations implement a Statement of Achievement in their meetings, meetings end on average 17 minutes early. Is that the end of the world? No. I'm not going to sit here and tell you that you can take a 60-minute meeting down to 2 minutes. Probably not going to happen unless it was a meeting that shouldn't happen in the first place. But 17 minutes per meeting on average spread across the 20 meetings you sit in every week, well, now all of a sudden we're talking about real time, and the only thing we need to do is to have one sentence that says, "As a result of this meeting, we will have achieved something."