Meetings Taking Forever? Try Having Stand-Up Meetings

standing meeting

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If you find that you’re spending the majority of your work day attending meetings instead of doing actual work, then you may want to suggest a stand-up meeting. As the name suggests, a stand-up meeting is a team meeting where those in attendance stand for the entire time. Since standing can be uncomfortable for long periods of time, it serves as a great motivator to keep the meeting short. (That is, unless you like pain. Don’t worry, we won’t judge). Here are five tips for ensuring that your next stand-up meeting is a success.

1. Set ground rules

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Decide where you will hold meetings, how long they will be, and who will facilitate. Once you’ve decided on these, stick to the rules. Establishing a consistent format will encourage participation. Unpredictability breeds chaos.

2. Kick people out of the meeting

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This goes with any meeting, but it’s still important. Don’t have team members attend meetings they really don’t need to be at. This is time that could be better spent working. Also, fewer people often means less talking. And this, my friends, is how you keep a meeting short. A note to managers: while it’s true that misery loves company, this shouldn’t apply to meetings. Don’t drag the entire department to a meeting when only half of your employees need to be there. Just because you don’t want to be there doesn’t mean you should subject others to your misery. Suck it up and do your job.

3. Stand up

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It’s not a stand-up meeting unless everyone is — you guessed it — standing up. This may seem obvious, but attendees will do everything they can to find a table to lean against or steal a chair from a nearby cubicle. You’ll likely be sitting at your desk all day anyway, so think of this as an opportunity to get away from your poorly lit, tiny work box and stretch your legs. Unless you’re physically unable to stand for long periods of time, don’t be lazy. Stand.

4. Keep it short

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The whole point of a standing is to avoid holding a marathon meeting. Keep the meeting to roughly 15 to 20 minutes. Remember that the goal should be to say where you are with your projects and mention any challenges. Do not give a play-by-play of every painful detail of each project you’re working on, your ideas for future projects, and how you plan to take over your industry. Because no one cares, really.

5. Focus—and learn when to shut your mouth

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Submitting to the urge to discuss irrelevant topics will unnecessarily prolong the meeting. Don’t start talking about your crazy weekend or have the public school versus private school debate for the millionth time. Discuss the topic that originally brought you to the meeting and stay there. Your co-workers are afraid to tell you this, so we’ll do it for them: they want you to know that they’ve been discreetly rolling their eyes while you recount your weekend forays or how your kids are performing brilliantly in school.

So there you have it. Follow these five tips and you’ll breeze through your next meeting in no time. You’re welcome.

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