How to avoid being trapped in a never ending meeting

Have you experienced being left in a middle of a maze and you cannot find your exit even if you’ve been searching for it for hours? Makes you want to cry, right? It is the same feeling that you can get every time you attend a meeting that seems to be a labyrinth of discussion. It is tiring, frustrating and seems to be wasting your precious time. So how can we avoid this? Here are some tips:

Have an agenda and stick to your topic

Meeting would be useless if you do not have a topic to discuss. In this case, planning your agenda or subject that you want to tackle during the meeting is important. However, planning alone would be useless if you will not stick to it during the meeting. Do not allow yourself or anyone else during the meeting to divert from the topic of the discussion to avoid long meetings. If someone raises an issue during the meeting that is not part of your agenda, take note of it in the minutes and inform the person that his concern will be discussed in another forum.

Make a topic outline to disseminate to attendees

 Create an outline for your agenda and determine how much time do you need to discuss each subject. It is ideal to breakdown your topic to not more than five subtopics to avoid clutterinv discussion. Send the outline to all participants so the can prepare ahead of time. 

Limit the number of attendees to key personnel only

When you meet to discuss something, it means that you need to decide on some concerns. So  make sure that you invite only those key personnel that can give decisions on issues that will be laid in the table. Limiting the number of participants to those that can decide is one way of ensuring that you can wrap up your meeting successfully.

Don’t forget the minutes

Taking notes on the discussion is essential so you have a documentation of what have been discussed and agreed to during the discussion. Take down all the essential points as well as the actions to be taken and the agreed timeline to resolve some issues. It is important to have these in your minutes so you can have something to refer to once you make follow ups. Make sure that you send it  out to all participants  immediately after the meeting.