When you're in business it often feels as if there aren't enough hours in the day. Getting better at streamlining your meetings can save you time, keep your business associates happy and lead to better results all round. These five time management tips will help you make a start.
Manage your energy
Be alert to your body's needs and design your schedule so you'll always be at your best in meetings. If you struggle first thing in the morning or get sleepy after lunch, use that time for other kinds of work. Try walking to meetings so that fresh air perks you up before you start. Fresh water and fruit are better than coffee and pastries for keeping everyone alert once a meeting starts.
Build on trust
Don't waste time and energy sitting in meeting rooms with people who are not going to come through for you. Be prepared to make extra effort for reliable business allies. Investing time in them will ensure their continued loyalty and help you to build up a strong reputation as a reliable business associate.
Sharpen your priorities
Don't take on too many meetings in one week. Strong, focused performance in just a few will prove more beneficial than turning up just to go through the motions in lots. Invest time in careful forward planning and remember to give due priority to follow-up work. Learn to say no when time is too tight. If people understand that you're busy but always see you doing good work, they'll be prepared to wait for your attention.
Identify best practice
Every time you manage a meeting well, try to identify the reasons why. Make notes of anything you did differently, even if it doesn't seem significant. Over time you'll be able to compare these and work out ways of improving your performance. Don't think only about what happened in the meeting room - think about what you were able to take away from it and achieve as a result.
Develop good systems
You will always make a good impression in business when you are able to do things fluently without paying much attention. Developing good systems for things like scheduling, booking, travel and follow-up will help you to look effortlessly professional and will allow you to focus your immediate energy on performing well in meetings. Get into the habit of spotting potential problems before they happen and you can set aside your worries once a meeting starts. Then you'll be able to relax and do what you do well.