Give Time Back

This one is easy. Or it should be.

Take only the time that you need. And give the rest back.

Do you know what they call a productive meeting that is an hour on the books, but wraps up ten or fifteen minutes.

It’s a gift.

It’s an opportunity to squeeze in a phone call, check email, stretch out lunch.

Photo by Miguel Á. Padriñán on

It’s courtesy. You’re respectful of the customer’s time. You’re not filling the hour simply because you ‘have it.’ Or worse, running over.

It’s being professional. It communicates that you know what you’re doing. You’re efficient. Because your time is important, too.

And it creates good will. And that makes scheduling the next conversation just a little bit easier.

If you have an hour, can you accomplish your mutual objectives in 45 minutes. Or even 50? Why not?

I’ve taken to booking 15 and 30 minute meetings whenever practical. It is surprising how much one can get accomplished in 30 minutes. Or less. It focuses the mind, and forces you to plan out what you need to do.

Yes, this requires effort and discipline. And there are customers that love meetings, and talking, and feel compelled to fill the hour. In those instances, go with the flow.

But in many more cases than not, your customer is busy and overbooked. Their meeting with you because they have a problem to solve, but it’s not the only problem. And the higher up in the organization you’re dealing with, the problems just multiply and are bigger.

Take less time. Make things simpler. Be more succinct. Give time back.