Recently a journalist shared the following productivity topic related to 15-minute meetings:
“A new trend is developing in corporate circles called the ‘15-minute meeting’, which business experts say curbs employee burnout and boosts engagement.
For managers, learning how to plan for and run a shorter, on-the-clock meeting is good business and good career management.
In this article, we’ll lay out the parameters, along with some pros and cons, of a 15-minute meeting culture for managers.”
The following are the questions posed regarding 15-minute meetings and my responses:
1. In your view, what’s the value of cutting meeting times to 15 minutes? What are the pros/cons?
The pro is that people will stop beating around the bush and will get to the point more quickly. They’ll prepare ahead of time because they’ll know they won’t have the opportunity to do all the reading while the meeting is taking place and ask questions they should have known the answer to because there’s no time for that during a short meeting.
The con is that if there is a subject that legitimately requires more time (brainstorming session, crisis management, etc.), 15 minutes isn’t enough. If reasons for not abiding by the 15-minute limit are not identified and clarified ahead of time, many managers will want that exception to the rule, which will cause the whole concept to be ignored. When one policy/procedure is ignored, it sets the precedent that they can all be ignored.
2. What are the best tips for a manager looking to condense and sharpen necessary information within 15 minutes?
*Send out the agenda a minimum of 48 hours prior – longer if there’s more prep work involved.
*The agenda should clearly state the goal/objective of the meeting. If this can’t be stated, call off the meeting.
*Include the topics and timeframes, as well as who will be speaking in each section.
*Also state the type of prep that should be completed before arriving.
*Consider having a pre-meeting chat session to meet the needs of those team members who thrive off human interaction. For example:
8:45 – 9:00 A.M. – Chat time; arrive early to visit, if you’d like
9:00 – 9:15 A.M. – Meeting
3. Are you a fan of 15-minute meetings?
I’m a fan of the 15-minute meetings for weekly 1:1’s with direct reports, team members, client check-ins, and so on. What I’m not a fan of is thinking that limiting meetings to 15 minutes will solve all of your problems. If you weren’t running meetings well when they were 30, 45 or 60 minutes, and you use those same planning and facilitation techniques for a 15-minute meeting, your meetings will still be unproductive.
For details on more productive ways to run your meetings (and your entire workday!), take a look at The Inefficiency Assassin: Time Management Tactics for Working Smarter, Not Longer.