Re: Cancelling, Scheduling Special Meetings
From: Berrins (
Date: Mon, 18 Dec 2000 23:20:13 -0700 (MST)
In a message dated 12/17/00 4:46:13 PM, sharonvillines [at] writes:

<< I have difficulty with presenters assigning time to agenda items. The
question is not how much time the presenter needs but how much time the
group needs for discussion. How can the presenter know that? If the
presenter knows that, the discussion is probably irrelevant. >>

I agree that a presenter may not know exactly how long a discussion will 
take, but a presenter (either an experienced individual or committee) should 
be able to guesttimate how much time it will take to achieve whatever goal 
they have in mind.  That said, some goals are easer to predict time for than 
others.  The more serious the issue and the closer to consensus you need to 
get, the more difficult it becomes to predict, especially with larger groups. 
 Be generous with more serious issues, then add more time.

When you have an issue that absolutely must be decided on, then you may need 
a special meeting to give it the time it needs.  And, as difficult as it may 
seem, you may need to go past the scheduled end of the meeting to finish it 
up.  This isn't easy, and takes a special commitment from the attendants to 
stay fresh and creative and avoid getting irritated just because you're 
staying "late".  In these circumstances, keep your eyes on the goal and not 
on the clock.

<<...maintaining a good "things needing to be discussed" list so there are 
topics that need discussion...>>

Amen to that.  And I would add that prioritizing the list and making sure 
that some of the items get onto the agenda on a regular basis will take a lot 
of anxiety out of running things AND you'll find that things don't fall by 
the wayside as often.  Now if I could just do this in my personal life!

Northampton, MA

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