Do you totally dislike meetings and often wonder why in the world meetings take so long? How many people would you say feel the exact same way as you? Do you think as high as 90%? I would bet the percentage is at least that, maybe higher.

Oh the days of sitting in long corporate meetings. I dread those days. What I dread even more is leading those meetings? What a drainer that was! I would look up from your notes and all I would see was either people passed out or people intensely watching the clock.

I even remember people asking, “When can we go back to our work stations and get work done?”

A few years ago I was talking with a former president of a pretty large company and she suggested that I try standing meetings. Standing meetings I thought, people are going to love these!

I was willing to try about anything though after some of the meetings I had. I’m sure you know what I’m talking about. After hearing the idea, I paused for a moment, thought about it, and started asking a few more questions.

She clarified the idea pretty well and answered all my questions, but I still wanted to think more about it. I loved the idea, but was curious how I could take the idea and add some structure to it. I didn’t want this to just be another one of those things we try and it never ends up working. I really thought that if I put some time into it, it could turn out to be something great!

After weeks of thinking and talking it over with other leaders, I came up with something I thought was pretty powerful. And to my surprise everything worked great and the standing meetings were a huge hit! People were more alert, meetings didn’t last as long, and the next time I brought up having another meeting people would ask, “Is it one of those standing meetings?” It was breakthrough and people loved the idea of getting in, getting out, and getting on with it. And so did I!

If you’re interested in having standing meetings here are a couple of simple things to follow:

  1. The person leading the meeting has to be fully on board and understand what has to happen to have a standing meeting.
  2. Before the meeting, one important thing that needs to be done is collecting action items from all meeting attendees. The number of action items is what will determine whether it’s a standing meeting or not. Whoever is in charge of leading the meeting is also responsible for collecting all of the action items.
  3. If there are less than five action items this classifies it as a standing meeting. If there are more than five action items, then a standing meeting is out of the question.
  4. I figured the longest people would be willing to stand would be about 25 minutes, which means each action item equals about 5 minutes.

This worked great for me and often times when I prepare for larger meetings I will use this strategy again. I figure why waste my time in another meeting when I have a great formula for fast and effective meetings.


Discussion Question: Have you ever tried standing meetings? What were your results? What did you find? Any additional tips to add? You can add your comments below.