15 Minute Meetings

Blog-CAPS-15-MinuteMeetings Stop scheduling long meetings. You don’t need to have a long meeting to get something 
accomplished.  As a matter of fact, you probably don’t need more than 15 minutes to accomplish most interactions when you’re trying to get something done.  Apple is famous for having three-hour brainstorming sessions for their design team, fueled by coffee and creativity. 
 
That is a very rare example where spending that much time will continue to give you returns but for most people, our attention spans and our need for information simply don’t warrant having long meetings. Now what do I mean by a long meeting? I find a one-hour meeting to be painful and dreadful. Anytime somebody tries to schedule a meeting with me that is an hour, I cringe. I know that the amount of things that can be accomplished in a much shorter amount of time is a lot greater than if you simply allow for empty space which will be filled by needless information. 
 
I love 15-minute meetings. I love 15-minute phone calls. It forces both parties to be extremely efficient, deliver the information that they need to deliver, and receive the information that they need to deliver and move on.  If you accept the idea that we cannot multitask, which I happen to agree with, you have to realize that the people who think that they are multitasking are simply switching back and forth between tasks at a very rapid level. If you have four 15-minute meetings or phone calls in one hour, you have effectively multitasked because you got four things done in the space that would normally take one. But you’ve focused for 15 minutes and then moved on to the next. It makes it so that you don’t get bored. You stay engaged and you accomplish what you need to accomplish. 
 
Think about all of the meetings that you’ve had where people ended up repeating themselves or saying things that were more about small talk than about information or maybe they just sat there doodling for half the time. But if you really think back, you will probably realize that very little of that time was actually spent getting things done. 
 
That’s not because there’s no value there. It’s simply because the time that was given to do it was inappropriate. So try it next time you want to have a meeting. Don’t make it 45 minutes. Don’t make it a half an hour. Try to have a 15-minute meeting and see how much you can get done.