If you have ever wanted to pop an escape hatch or teleport to distant worlds just to get out of a meeting, take heart.
There are ways to hold a better meeting.
Forward-thinking companies have found creative ways to get their teams together, and their lessons and structure can be easily duplicated in meetings anywhere. These creative methods aren’t just clever for cleverness’s sake: Most of them are science-backed and all of them are grounded in successful experience.
With just a handful of hacks, meetings can be speedier, more productive, and more enjoyable for everyone involved. Here are 9 outside-the-box ideas–and the science and success behind them–that you can discuss … at your next meeting, I guess.
Five research-backed ways to hold a more productive meeting:
What’s your record for longest meeting?
Can anyone beat my four-hour marathon? (I bet many of you can!)
When it comes to meeting pain points, length often tops the list. How is it that meetings tend to go on so long, sometimes (OK, many times) unnecessarily? Here’s an old project management adage that might explain it:
Work expands to the time you schedule for it.
For this reason, you may want to keep meetings to 15 minutes or shorter, whenever possible. Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer will schedule 10-minute meetings, out of necessity for her busy schedule. The team at Percolate sets 15 minutes as the default length for all meetings, adjusting up or down as needed. Percolate values the 15-minute default so highly, they framed it in their set of six meeting rules.
Why might it seem like 15 minutes is an ideal starting point for meeting length? For one, it’s easy to schedule in an Outlook calendar or Google calendar. Though the default in most calendar apps is 30 minutes, you can quite easily adjust down to 15-minute increments as that’s how most schedule grids are created.
For the science behind the 15-minute rule, you need look no further than a TED talk. Each TED talk is kept to 18 minutes or shorter, the same time as a coffee break and a helpful constraint for presenters to organize their thoughts. Scientifically, 18 minutes fits right in with the research on attention spans: 10 to 18 minutes is how long most people can pay attention before checking out.
The 18-minute max has physiological roots. Our bodies require a large amount of glucose, oxygen, and blood flow when the brain processes new information. Sooner or later, we feel physically fatigued.
Here’s a helpful follow-up to the 15-minute rule. How keep yourself accountable to a set meeting length? Why not set a timer.
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