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Shorter days, shorter meetings!

Posted by Paul Neefjes on 14 October, 2016


Days that are getting shorter and fewer long meetings? Are those two things related? Well, they could be! And certainly so if you conduct your meetings standing up. It simply makes your meetings much more active and quicker. Moreover, it means that you and your colleagues have to leave your comfortable chairs for twenty to thirty minutes and get some much-needed exercise. And that’s pretty important now that the short autumn and winter days are upon us. Because we tend to curtail our lunchtime stroll, cycling to the office and running in the evening when it’s dark and cold outside. So when the days get shorter, make your meetings short and active!


People don’t like standing for too long, so a stand-up meeting usually lasts no longer than 20 to 30 minutes. That’s understandable as everyone wants to get the items on the agenda settled as quickly as possible and go back to work. Colleagues who spend too much time talking about a particular subject are silenced more readily and you tend to work towards a decision as a group. There are hardly any of those private tête-à-têtes because these are much more difficult standing than sitting. Do you work in an organisation where people have difficulty in criticising each other for the amount of time they spend talking? Then use a bowling ball or another heavy object as a tool. The speaker has to hold this as soon as the agreed speaking time is over. This restrains a wordy colleague from repeating his arguments!

Better communication

When you hold a stand-up meeting for the first time, you’ll notice that your words carry more force. The fact is that when you’re standing your body posture sends out more non-verbal signals than when you’re sitting in a chair. This is pretty important when you consider that more than 60% of your communication is non-verbal. And you also listen more carefully when standing, which improves your engagement in the meeting.

Better collaboration, more shared ideas

Because you and your colleagues feel more engaged in stand-up meetings and interaction is better, you’re more open for collaboration and for creating and sharing ideas. And that not only improves the working climate but also the success of the organisation!

Last but not least

In the introduction to this blog, you read that stand-up meetings are healthier than sit-down meetings. Standing increases your metabolic rate: your heart pumps 10 times more blood around your body. And good blood circulation is very important for your health. So when a downpour makes you leave your bike in the shed, you needn’t feel quite so guilty.

If you need more ideas to help you with faster and smarter meetings, download our checklist for effective meetings.

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Topic: Meeting trends

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