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Operations Q&A: Stand and Be Heard

Question: Need to stand up to be heard?

Answer: One of the complaints I hear most when working with my clients is "We spend too much time in meetings." I think we all suffer from meeting overload that reduces our productivity and wastes our time. There is no doubt that meetings are a necessary evil, especially in today's world where most communication is done impersonally through e-mails and text messages. However, there are any number of best practices to employ to improve meeting productivity.

Think of the last meeting you attended. You were likely seated around a table, people fidgeting, staring into space or, in a worst case scenario, working out those thumb muscles on their PDAs instead of paying attention.

Now imagine a meeting where there are no chairs in which to sit. Everyone must stand. Sound a bit crazy? Maybe to the novice, but in every client of mine who has adopted such a format, the productivity of meetings has noticeable soared.

Bottom Line: There is a definitely a right time and place to employ stand up meetings. Here are some steps to take to get started . . . or to improve upon what is already in place.

  • Select a location, ideally one that offers some privacy but also void of table and chairs. No sense tempting people to sit.
  • Establish a regular meeting time. It's important to be consistent and steadfast. The meeting must start on time.
  • Set a duration, 10 minutes for example. As the meetings are better run, this time will drop.
  • Create a format. This too is fluid. It will morph over time. Regardless of what it is, there must be structure for everyone to follow.

Google and Apple employ stand up meetings. Research has proven that stand up meetings reduce decision making time by 34 percent without sacrificing decision quality. Researchers have also found that where people stand up, they are more likely to work collaboratively and share ideas and information.

Stand up. Have a voice.

© 2018 Gale Media, Inc.

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