Time is a precious commodity that cannot be recovered when wasted. I have always taught my staff that you cannot manage time. What you can however manage is your activities to fit into the allotted time you have. Among the time wasters that ranked high among busy professionals, like me, are informal meetings. Mostly, these are not pre-arranged meetings, and occasionally boils down to senseless chit-chats that robs you of those precious time you need to accomplish your tasks.
This usually occurs when some people would drop by at your office without prior appointments, and you are obliged to leave what you are doing and entertain them. They immediately take priority. More, what is frustrating, their agendas or purpose is not really important or urgent. How do you manage these informal meetings?
- Avoid them. How? By telling people to set-up appointment /s or meetings ahead of time. Make this known to them. It is the ethical, professional, and practical way of doing business. However, make sure that when they have done so, you stick to your commitment, meet their needs, and allocate time for them.
- Agree on time allotment and agenda. If you are confronted with an informal meeting at hand, be sure to begin by clarifying the goals or agenda of the meeting, and how much time you can spare. Let them know that your time, including theirs, is valuable. This shows that you mean business. They will admire you for it; and prolly they will make sure that they will set-up an advance appointment with you next time.
- Write the agenda and objectives of the informal meeting. Write them! What happens when you go to a grocery store and you don’t have a list? See? Need I explain more? It will take you only about less than 5 minutes to write what needs to be discussed in that meeting. That will forced you to stay on course and maximize the time you allotted.
- Last but not the least, conclude the meeting with a plan of action or an agreement and set-up the next meeting (if needed) which will be convenient for both parties.
Interestingly, Henry Boye said: “The most important trip you may take in life is meeting people halfway.” What does this imply in this post’s context? When people see you without appointments, do not ignore or dismiss them immediately however hectic your schedule maybe. Be polite and professional by meeting them halfway and dictate the pacing of that meeting so that everyone will come out of it productive and needs satisfied.