Manage Time During a Meeting with a Timekeeper

Posted by Kristin Arnold on July 14, 2022

manage time during a meeting

All teams should agree on how they will manage time during a meeting.  Unless noted otherwise, the leader keeps time and the rest of the team is subject to the skill of the leader to keep the meeting on track between topics and to end the meeting on time.

That is quite the task. The leader is already busy managing the content of the meeting!  Why not ask for a little help from another team member to manage time during a meeting?  You can do that by designating someone on the team as the “timekeeper.”

Now, before you dump that role onto a team member, let’s review the job description:

The Role of the TimeKeeper in a Meeting

The timekeeper keeps time as established in the agenda and ensures that the meeting does not run overtime on any particular subject. The timekeeper provides warnings when time is running out.

The timekeeper should provide warnings as time is running out.  For instance, if twenty minutes is allocated to discussion of a particular topic, the timekeeper might warn the group at the ten-minute mark, the five-minute mark, the one-minute mark and then signal the group when time is up.

When the time is up, the team has one of three options:

  • Continue.  Renegotiate the timetable and continue the discussion.  (Remember, meetings start and end on time).
  • Close.  Move toward immediate closure of the discussion.
  • Park It.  Save the issue for another meeting.

The timekeeper clarifies which option the team wants to take and then begins the clock anew in order to manage time during a meeting.

Let me know if you have tried this technique and how it worked for you.


Related Articles:

How Much Time Does Your Organization Waste in Meetings?

Breaks During Meetings, What’s the Ideal?

Meeting Facilitators: Find Strategic Moments


Photo by Lucian Alexe on Unsplash

KRISTIN ARNOLD, MBA, CSP, CPF|Master has been facilitating meaningful conversations between executives and managers to make better decisions and achieve extraordinary results for 25+ years. She's a leading authority on moderating panel discussions and passionate about finding the perfect olive to complement a vodka martini.

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