One question we are often asked in our workshops; is how do you know how much time to allocate each topic to ensure you don’t over or under load the agenda? Often, time limits for meetings are driven by ‘this is the way we do it, or have always done it’, rather than considering the unique outcomes for a particular meeting.
When putting together each agenda topic, the timing must be considered, especially these days when people are spending an average of 3 hours – 5 hours per day in virtual meetings. Determining how much time to allot per agenda topic should be based on the following variables:
|Variable||Takes more time||Takes less time|
|Type of Session
|· Status updating
|Type of Decision-making||· Consensus building
|· Majority voting
|Number of Attendees||· Greater than 10||· Up to 10
|Degree of Resistance or Anticipated Conflict||· Culture or history of in-fighting, cliques, negative past experience, poor leadership||· Culture or history of collaboration, teamwork, positive past experience|
|Complexity of Topic (# of steps to go through)||· Strategic planning, re-engineering, process improvement, mediation, etc.||· Feedback session, brainstorming, status update, informal discussion|
|Experience of Facilitator||· New facilitator, little experience in running process or managing people||· Experienced facilitator; has lots of training, tools and processes in their toolkit|
Facilitation First’s Guideline for Timing
What have we missed? What timing guidelines do you consider when designing the agenda?
Do you have a unique meeting challenge not covered by one of our blog posts? We’re always looking for different dilemmas to discuss in our articles!