We’ve all been in meetings that seem like they go on and on and on. Instead of watching the clock, take matters into your own hands:

  • Come prepared. You can avoid a chaotic, rambling conversation simply by showing up with a clearly articulated position on the topic to be discussed. Don’t push it on others, but offer to share it if people think doing so will speed up the discussion.
  • Set limits. If a meeting is notorious for starting late or running over, explain your time limitations up front. You might say, “I understand we’re starting late, but I have a commitment to the Murphy team I want to keep, so I have a hard stop at 10:45 AM.”
  • Name what’s happening. Listen to your gut. If you’re feeling lost, pay attention. If you’re feeling bored, notice it. There’s a good chance others feel the same. You can tactfully and tentatively share your concern to see if others are feeling similarly. You might say, “I’m not sure I’m tracking the discussion. We seem to be moving among three different agenda items. Are others seeing that too?”

Adapted from “7 Ways to Stop a Meeting from Dragging On,” by Joseph Grenny