The cost of finishing the agenda

How would you moderate an hour-long meeting with 10 agenda points?

A good moderator works to ensure that all 10 points are addressed in the meeting. On average, every agenda point receives about 5 minutes of time, if you have 10 minutes in buffer.

However, there is a trade-off here. A couple of crucial agenda points might require 20 minutes each – rushing them through in 5 minutes is likely to result in incomplete communication and poorer decisions that will cause problems downstream. Those problems are likely to set us back by way more than the 15 minutes we have saved while discussing them.

An alternative is for the moderator to prioritize the agenda – to put first things first and give each point on the agenda the time it deserves. If only 4 points can be discussed in that hour, push the rest to the next meeting.

Our to-do lists are always likely to have more items on them than the time we have at hand. Prioritization saves us from the tyranny of having to finish everything on the list.

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