END meetings on time – with just four words

27th July 2021

“How many of you hate it when meetings overrun, and make you late for your next thing?”

I recently asked this question.

Guess what?

Yep – 100% of people hate meetings that overrun.

So how to ensure yours don’t?

It’s simple.

With ten minutes to go, say the four magic words:

       “I’m conscious of time”

When you say this, two things happen:

  • Everybody looks at their watch, to check the time
  • They stop talking while they do so

This interrupts your meeting. Giving you time to say “Let’s quickly agree our actions before we go”.

You then calmly agree your actions, comfortably ending at/before the official time.

Other thoughts on this:

  • This approach means you need to plan timings so you complete the agenda with ten minutes to go. Not – as most people do – with no minutes to go!
  • You can say “I’m conscious of time” if any agenda item is taking too long. Follow it with “let’s take the detail offline” (a polite way of saying ‘shut up!’)
  • When it’s someone else’s meeting, you can still say it. But…
  • … If it’s your boss’s boss’s boss’s meeting, you might just have to suck it up and let them run on!

Action Point

Easy. In your next meeting, with ten minutes left, say “I’m conscious of time”!

Or try this?

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