A 15 minute meeting is more disruptive than a 3 hour one.

A possible fictionalization of the history of meetings:

A long time ago, possibly before the invention of electronic calendars, meetings were scheduled in one-hour blocks.

Then, someone noticed that the electronic calendar could schedule meetings for 30 minutes, and so, half-hour meetings were born.

Finally, someone really, really, smart realized that you could schedule meetings that went from 1:03 pm to 1:34 pm…

Fortunately, no one else’s brain worked that way, so a happy medium of 15 minute increments for meetings was agreed upon.

The Lilliputian Meeting Tyranny

While the Brobdingnagian 3 and 4 hour meeting still strikes far more fear in the heart of productivity, the truth is that the ominous giants rarely have openings in the schedule walls that they can fit through.  Aside from brute force ramming into everyone’s schedules, the giants stay isolated in the wilderness.

The real danger lies with the 15 minute meetings.  These Lilliputian meetings are not a threat because 160 15-minutes status meetings can squeeze into an open 40 hour schedule.  *shudder* They are a threat because  20 15-minute status meetings can fit into your lunch hour in a week, with none of them causing enough of a threat to be individually defended against.  Even worse, 40 more 15-minute meetings can be scheduled in the small bits of daylight in your schedule.

Of course, the 15-minute meeting is too small to actually say “no” to.  It’s like making someone return their lunch because they’re 2 cents short of $2.89: What kind of person are you to make someone do that?  Are you that greedy with your time that you can’t spare 15 minutes?

So, what do we accomplish in these meetings?

The 15-Minute Meeting Agenda

  • 5 minutes travel time/dial-in time/waiting for people to realize their clock is out-of-sync
  • 5 minutes of greetings
  • 2 minutes of status
  • 3 minutes of disconnect beeps or leaving early for a restroom break

Inspired yet?

Hot Potato Status Meeting Game

[Amazon affiliate link]

Originally posted at YouMightBe.com.

Object of the game: Don’t be caught giving your status update when the potato goes off.

Requires: Hot potato timer or random timer smartphone app.  If you know of a link to a good one, please leave it in the comments.

Rules of the game:

  1. A different person starts the status meeting every week.
  2. The random “Hot Potato” timer starts when the first person begins his or her update.
  3. When an update is complete, the person picks a random person to hand/toss the “hot potato” to.
  4. Repeat giving updates and handing off the potato until updates are complete or the hot potato goes off.
  5. If the potato goes off during your update, you must buy coffee and donuts/bagels/etc. for the entire team the next morning.
  6. If the entire meeting goes off without the potato going off, the manager buys the food.
  7. Interrupting an update means that you get to hold the potato next, or if you’ve gone already, until the person giving the update is finished talking.