Sir Richard Branson knows the secret to efficient meetings. But I wager that you have probably not given this particular way of holding meetings much thought. Quite possibly you may never have heard about it either.
So what is the secret? Well it is quite simple; the next time you hold a meeting try running it standing up .
Granted you might wonder about the logic behind this unusual meeting tactic. Several studies though attest to its usefulness. For instance, in 1999 a study was conducted which tested the effectiveness of decisions between sit down and stand up meetings 1 . The researchers found that sit down meetings took 34% longer than stand up meetings and produced no better decisions.
So for example, a stand-up meeting would take 39 minutes while the same meeting held sitting down would take 60 to complete. Now imagine there were 5 employees in the meeting and their average wage was $24. The sit down meeting would cost the company around $120 to run, while the stand up meeting would cost $78. Standing up would therefore save the company $42, thus improving productivity and impacting the bottom line positively.
Another study done by the University of St Louis showed that stand up meetings led to better collaboration, less possessiveness of ideas, better engagement and problem-solving creativity 2 . Possibly stand up meetings causes more blood flow to the brain, and less falling asleep in the chair!
Richard Branson is reported to say that one of his favorite tricks is to conduct meetings standing up. It’s quicker to get down to business and seal a deal. He especially likes to take it one step further and have a walking meeting. He believes that meetings based on a single topic should take no longer than 5 – 10 minutes.
Branson says, “I’ve never been a fan of long meetings cramped up in offices. The aversion probably comes from countless stressful nights spent in boardrooms in the early days of Virgin, convincing the bank not to shut us down
When people have to stand up rather than lounge around in a chair, they are more inclined to get down to business sooner than later. The discomfort created by standing is a useful tactic to getting meetings over and done with, saving you and your organisation time and money.
- The effects of stand-up and sit-down meeting formats on meeting outcomes. Bluedorn, Allen C.; Turban, Daniel B.; Love, Mary Sue. Journal of Applied Psychology, Vol 84(2), Apr 1999, 277-285. ↩
- Get Up, Stand Up: The Effects of a Non-Sedentary Workspace on Information Elaboration and Group Performance. Andrew P. Knight and Markus Baer. ↩
- https://www.virgin.com/richard-branson/why-you-should-stand-up-in-meetings ↩
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