I hate to be unprepared, so whenever I need to host a meeting, I write thoughts on context and goals down in my notebook, so that I can have a clear train of thought. Being a non native English speaker, this is also important for me to stay alert. So far, I follow my rough “agenda” and most of my meetings were fantastic and productive.
This one was an exception, at least from my perspective.
This was an important meeting, as usual, I prepared notes. It was supposed to be 1 hour, and I had quite some content to cover, so I was really striving to get my thoughts clear before I headed into the meeting. I noted down big areas and smaller details to flesh each of them. Alright, I thought, now I am truly clear about what I wanted to talk about.
A couple of hours before the meeting, it was changed from 1 hour down to 0.5 hour. I thought, ok, now I just need to say things more concisely, no big deal.
It turned out that the other meeting attendee also had some key things to cover, so we spent some time on that. We talked and talked, then when there were 2 minutes left, I started talking about my items.
Instead of covering big areas first to give the other person a grasp of the thing I plan to talk about, and find another time to talk about the details later, my mind went baloneys and I started drilling into one of the details, drilling and drilling, until he said, “I see you have lots to talk about, I have to go, let’s talk about it next time.”
“Ok.” I said, so frustrated. Not because why the other person didn’t let me finish, but why for that 2 minutes left, I lost my mind, not to give an overview, but instead, drill down so much into unnecessary details that would’ve been good for another meeting.
Now that I think about it, I was too focused on what I wanted to say for that particular meeting, rather than note that there was really no time for anything else. What can fit in 2 minutes? Solve a problem? No way. End the meeting 2 minutes early? Yeah, people would be happy! There was really no super urgency and we can talk about my stuff next time.
Although I prepared well for that particular meeting, it doesn’t mean we had time to cover everything. What I can do is to give it a thought ahead of time which of the items can be pushed out and talked later, rather than fit them all in a tight timeframe. I think I need to relax myself and learn to adapt better.
Image referenced: Dewalt Drill Driver