IAF Methods

Time Management

by for . Last edit was about 2 years ago
1 + 26 - 50
Any meeting of any kind
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Nearly everyone has been in a meeting that ran over time. Often this means that the last item on the agenda is dropped and put on the next agenda. Sometimes real unanticipated issues come up that need to be dealt with but not necessarily in this meeting. An issue that was assumed to be simple turned out to be much more complex and time consuming than anticipated. Diverse unplanned distractions may arise that need time to be dealt with.


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  • Kitchen Timer



Time needed: This takes only a few minutes

Pre-Work Required: Prepare agendas with topics, outcomes and amount of time spent on each topic.

Level of Difficulty to Facilitate (to be deleted during review): Facilitation skills required


1. At the opening of the meeting say what each topic is, what the outcome is for that topic such as a decision, a discussion, or reporting, and how much time will be spent on the topic. Make sure there is some 'facilitator' time to check signals and make adjustments. Ask the group if they agree with these things.

2. Sometimes a kitchen timer is useful. Set the timer to ring a few minutes before the time is up.

3. Often the facilitator acts as time keeper and needs to remind the group that the time they had allocated is up.

4. A third option is to have another person keep time.

5. If the group is close to closure on the topic, move to closing interventions. If the group is not close to closure, suggest that three things can happen at this point.

  • We can take time from one or more of the other topics of this meeting or we can run overtime and continue the discussion.
  • We can defer the topic to another meeting.
  • We can send it to a committee who will report back to the larger group. At times it is useful to spend a few minutes brainstorming ideas for the committee to take with them.

Lead the group in deciding which option they would like to do.

6. Often ideas that are not related to the topics of the meeting come up. In these cases use a 'Parking Lot', a flipchart or digital page where these ideas are put. The best time to initiate the parking lot is in the introduction to the meeting. Provide post-its or other means for people to add ideas with a minimum of disruption to the group. It is important to deal with these at the end of the current meeting or in another meeting. When items in the Parking Lot are not dealt with the Parking Lot becomes unusable.


Usual or Expected Outcomes: Meetings end on time.


History of Development: Written up by Jon Jenkins

Comments (1) ( 3.0  avg / 1 ratings)

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  • Enlists the group in managing the time, which is a very good idea.

    over 3 years ago