According to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, stand-up meetings are becoming common in some companies. In one company, Atomic Object, employees follow these rules, "Attendance is mandatory, nonwork chitchat is kept to a minimum, and, above all, everyone has to stand up."
This trend says much about why we don't like to go to meetings. They are too long; they often involve irrelevant information, they are boring. Atomic Objects is a soft-ware development firm where their meetings last five minutes each morning. We may think standing for a meeting is a little extreme, but the idea of speeding things along in meetings is positive. Here are some tips in addition to standing up for a successful meeting.
Send out an agenda 24 hours before the meeting so everyone has a chance to prepare. Take turns conducting meetings when they are held at a regular time each week. This helps everyone have a vested interest in the meeting because each person knows his or her turn is coming soon.
Start by announcing the length of the meeting and remind the group toward the middle of the meeting how much time is left. End the meeting by summarizing and then giving relevant information about the next meeting.
Start on time even if all members are not present. Limit discussion time. Encourage quiet people to participate by asking them a direct open question.
We are used to the refrain, "Let's stand and sing." Maybe to improve morale and get work done more efficiently in meetings, we may want to say, "Let's stand and meet."