Monday, September 15, 2014

A Call For Shorter Meetings



No one likes long meetings or too many meetings for that matter.  Meeting efficiency is a frequent topic on this and many other sites. Recently in an article on LinkedIn Fast Company explored the 18 minute meeting.
It doesn't take a scientist to know that you cannot inspire people if you put them to sleep. But scientists are beginning to identify how long most people can pay attention before they tune out. The range seems to be in the area of 10 to 18 minutes. TED organizers reached the conclusion that 18 minutes works best. 
TED curator Chris Anderson explained the organization’s thinking this way:
It [18 minutes] is long enough to be serious and short enough to hold people’s attention. It turns out that this length also works incredibly well online. It’s the length of a coffee break. So, you watch a great talk, and forward the link to two or three people. It can go viral, very easily. The 18-minute length also works much like the way Twitter forces people to be disciplined in what they write. By forcing speakers who are used to going on for 45 minutes to bring it down to 18, you get them to really think about what they want to say. What is the key point they want to communicate? It has a clarifying effect. It brings discipline.

Efficient meetings are the result of careful planning by the meeting planner. Make your meetings more effective with the use of SPACER as a meeting framework

Use SPACER (Safety, Purpose, Agenda, Conduct, Expectations, and Roles & Responsibilities) as a technique to improve team meeting efficiency and effectiveness.

Safety – is always the top priority, discuss safety protocols like evacuation, PPE or safety equipment needed in the facility, bathroom location, etc.

Purpose – "what is the meeting for?", discuss what is in scope and what might not be.

Agenda – no matter what type of meeting or for how long there should be some sort of plan.

Conduct – what are the rules the team participants should adhere to while in the meeting like cell phone us, side discussions, etc.

Expectations – what do we expect to get out of this meeting especially if it is a training session?

Roles – what are the roles of the participants in the meeting, is there a note taker or time keeper for example. 

One of the biggest challenges to meeting effectiveness is we are essentially creatures of habit. We do things this way because we have always done things this way – status quo. Perhaps the easiest change is break away from the Outlook meeting defaults of 30 minute blocks. What do you think? How do you make your meetings effective.

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