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How long is a productive meeting at work?

January 22, 2023

An article published in the Wharton Business School’s magazine, from the University of Pennsylvania (USA), argues that 25 minutes would be the ideal length for any meeting at work. “Twenty-five minutes is not an arbitrary number: there is both art and science involved. Put simply, 25 minutes is practical, easy, and achievable — and it has the smarts to back it up.”, Donna McGeorge wrote.

In order to halve the time and double the impact of meetings, the global authority on productivity and best-selling author of The 25-Minute Meeting (Wiley, 2019) suggests follow three steps to promote objective and efficient meetings: 

1. Set up

According to the author, lack of planning and preparation is one of the biggest causes of ineffective meetings. “Before you invite people to a meeting, think about why you are having the meeting in the first place. While there are hundreds of reasons people meet, they commonly fall into one of three categories: Inform, Align, or Resolve.” It is also important to think about the real importance of each guest. A 25-minute meeting works best for groups of no more than five people. 

2. Show up

Preparedness, punctuality and presence are crucial at this point. “No matter who is in the room, the meeting will start and end on time. There is no repetition for latecomers. By respecting each other’s time and the issue or topic at hand, we create positive feelings toward our teammates. This leads to more open, honest, and candid discussions, which in turn lead to meeting outcomes achieved.”

3. Speak Up

Letting people invited to the meeting know that they will be called upon for updates, opinions, reflections, or questions help them feel comfortable and engaged. For that, “consider using a short check-in question or activity (for example, on a scale of 1­–10, how are you feeling today?)”.

According to Rocket Meetings, an organization that specializes in productivity, more than 40 percent of meeting attendees don’t recall what was decided or who should do what after a meeting. In addition, 20 percent of participants have a different view on what was decided.

Source: Wharton