So you want to use your meetings as time management tools, and you want to be sure to turn your meetings into the launching point of productivity. If you’re already working on those meeting upgrades, then you’ve probably figured out our next tip without even knowing it. You have to pick the right leader for your meetings, the steady hand to guide you through what can be the treacherous waters of your conference room. You might be thinking, “I am obviously going to be the leader because it’s my company”, or on the other hand “I won’t be because I am not the boss”. Either way, you thought wrong. Don’t choose based on whose office is the biggest, or even who everyone at the company likes the best, make the decision based on what’s really important. 3 traits to look for in a meeting leader:

1. Someone Who Isn’t Afraid to Push

I’m not talking about choosing someone who has an HR rap sheet, I am simply saying that the person cannot be timid. If Bill and Jane are arguing about an issue that’s not on the Issues List (this is a shared document for your team to document issues for discussion), your Meeting Leader cannot be afraid to stand up and refocus the group. You can improve time management a lot by just saying no, and moving on!

The benefits of this may seem obvious, but if there is no one there to moderate which topics are being discussed, a meeting is likely to derail. A focused Meeting Leader will put time back in your meeting’s pocket, which will be necessary to have in order to solve as many issues as possible.

2. Someone Who Ensures Broad Participation

It may sound like we’re recommending that you employ the tactics of your high school teacher who called on you every time you weren’t paying attention in class, and that’s because we are. Why do you think that teachers use this tactic? They want their students to engage, learn the subject, be productive and leave with an understanding of what is going on. Meetings should be no different. The only difference is that if the attendees don’t participate in this professional scenario, they don’t need to be in the meeting.

With broad participation comes a broad perspective. Encouraging participation may very well be what the more timid individuals (who still have great insights, opinions, and ideas) need to share their thoughts.

You’re probably wondering what happens when the Meeting Leader asks for participation and gets crickets. Should someone fill the silence with an off-topic interjection? No, this is a sign that the meeting is unnecessary, or no expectation was set that attendees should be prepared to participate. The reality check that comes with regular participation from all attendees will help you gauge what meetings to have, and who to invite to them.

3. Someone Who Values Everyone’s Time

Someone who values everyone’s time is bound to run effective meetings. It really is that simple. If they have the understanding that people’s time is valuable, and a meeting is to be used as a time management tool, they are a good candidate for being a Meeting Leader.

Having this type of individual at the helm will ensure that your meetings are indeed used as time management tools. They will not only ensure that the team adheres to the meeting agenda and time allocated to each topic, but will actively look for ways to improve the time efficiency of meetings. This will lead to greater productivity in and out of your meetings, not to mention set a great example for other employees on how valuable time in meetings actually is.

Remember, this is not a congeniality contest, Pick Mr. or Mrs. Right, not Mr. or Mrs. Personality. Choose a Meeting Leader who will get the job done efficiently. Don’t make the mistake of letting the potential of a highly effective meeting go to waste because Bill is “a really fun guy”, and everyone in the meeting is likely to have a good time. Set your meetings up for success, not a failure. The wrong meeting leader is worse than no meeting leader at all, so choose wisely.