The Art of the 15-Minute Business Meeting

Reclaiming your time

Most of us have heard the saying “You can always make more money, but you can’t make more time.” This phrase usually comes to mind whenever I am sitting in a meeting that is going on way too long or a meeting that could have easily been a short email exchange. Time is the one thing we can’t get back and is one of our most valuable gifts. With that in mind, for 2018 I decided that I would only have 15-minute business meetings. Yes, it may sound a bit extreme but I needed to learn how to value and maximize my time if I wanted others to do the same. If I could not get my point across in 15 minutes or less then I was not ready for whatever meeting I had on the calendar. This also goes for those pitching ideas to me.

Being an entrepreneurship professor and entertainment professional, I am pitched everything from new products and services to new stage plays and television pilots. I would often feel compassion and just listen to pitches for over an hour out of respect but quickly realized I was not doing the person any good. Business and Entertainment are two of the most difficult industries to enter in and to sustain one’s self. People in these industries value their time more than their wealth or at least the ones I do business with do. In preparation for your next meeting, come prepared with these tips and suggestions and it will for sure impress but most importantly show people how to respect your time.

Before the Meeting Preparation

  1. Decide on a neutral location with parking that’s accessible for all attendees (Inform attendees of parking cost in advance)
  2. Send a Google Calendar Invite to ensure reminders are sent out before the meeting with all important details abbreviated
  3. Create a meeting agenda and send it out prior to the meeting to safeguard the meeting staying on track

Day of Meeting Preparation

  1. Arrive 10 minutes early and be prepared (Leave your prior destination earlier than you usually do to show that you not only care about your time but theirs also)
  2. Have a printed/digital copy of the agenda out on the table
  3. Order water for everyone who will be attending

During the Meeting

  1. Reference the time commitment/restraint
  2. Stick to the agenda
  3. Take notes if warranted and/or ask questions

Post Meeting To Dos

  1. Send/Respond to follow-up email within 24 hours after the meeting
  2. Set next meeting date and time if needed
  3. Celebrate yourself for sticking to your new rule of 15 minute meetings

Here are a few quotes from working, business professionals who believe in the same principles mentioned in this article that have served them well on their respective industries:

Karsten Chearis, IT Professional and Cyber Resiliency Strategist

“One of the keys to a successful meeting is utilizing “Effective Communication.” If communication in a meeting is defined as the exchange of thoughts, ideas, and information, Effective Communication is the understanding that we not only communicate by what we say, but also how we say what we say and what we don’t say. I can state, “I don’t agree with that idea” to share my thoughts, but if I emphasis the “I” in that statement, I’m expressing that unlike others and/or everyone else, I am being different in disagreeing. If my tone is underlined with thoughtfulness, I show that while I understand your idea, I have a different point of view. If the same sentence is laced with frustration and begins with a loud sigh, I am now expressing that not only do I disagree, but I also am growing weary of having this discussion.”

“Those who facilitate and participate in successful meetings understand that tone, body language, word choice, and even silence can accentuate their stance and also shift the atmosphere of the room.”

 

Brandon Blake, Pastor at New Sunny Mount M. B. Church

“Be concise. Focus on the issue (Not plural). Avoid meetings after the meeting.”

 

Brandon Taylor, Director of Major Gifts at the Nashville Rescue Mission

“With time being such a valuable and precious commodity in this age of technology, how you manage others’ time with you is extremely important. Respect your meeting attendee(s) time and use your own time wisely to be sure to have the best outcome for your meeting.”

“If you schedule a meeting, make sure you are on time (early), have an agenda for the meeting (the agenda should be typed and printed in group meetings and a verbal agenda stating the topics being discussed in a one-on-one meeting works fine) and leave time for questions.”

 

Lisa Beasley, Creative Director at The Nova Collective, Writer, Actor

“If I’m going to be on the phone for an hour, we better be discussing something that is going to change the world. Also, I’m an adult – don’t read to me word for word documents that we are going over on the phone. I’m on the call because I assumed we’ve all done our reading beforehand. I don’t believe in reading out loud to adults over the phone to prove comprehension.”

“I love doing business with black girls on the phone. Their calls are usually 11-15 minutes and we’ve caught up, figured out next steps, walked away with action items, and still have time to talk about fun stuff we are doing this weekend.”

“The less you talk, the more money you make.”

Written by Justin Key

Profile photo of Justin Key

Justin Key, actor, author, entrepreneur, mathematician, content creator and speaker, is the modern day renaissance man.  Simultaneously coexisting in three industries, entertainment, S.T.E.M. and business, he has defied the societal odds to really live the life he has always dreamt without limits. Attributing his success to the shift in his mindset, he is on a mission to help as many people in the world as possible to do the same. As an innovative influencer, he has been featured in many publications, served on numerous panels and has delivered addresses and talks all over the world.

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