By Lone Beacon Co-Founder John Capuano

The default hour-long meeting is an outdated paradigm. 

Why do we schedule hour-long meetings? I think it’s because Outlook and every other scheduler took the “day planner” convention that was used since the beginning of time, and separated blocks by the hour. Meanwhile, our communication and task-load has increased exponentially since the “day planner” was relevant. So, why isn’t this a bigger issue? There’s barely anything even written about it, yet it completely controls our lives and potentially steals half of our time. 

Most of us conform to the 60-minute meeting, confirming the fact that humans are essentially herd creatures. How about before scheduling a meeting, we decide if we really need one at all…and if we do, is there any reason why it couldn’t be 30-minutes…or 15? It’s not to say that there won’t be occasions for the 60-minute meeting, but not as the cultural norm. 

Let’s start the crusade together!

Change your Defaults to Thirty-Minutes

  • Don’t let the software designers tell you how long to schedule meetings
  • Make sure settings in Zoom, Outlook, Microsoft Teams, etc. are changed to 30-minutes

Have a Legit Agenda

  • Clearly state the purpose and everyone’s roles
  • Make sure that everyone has a purpose or don’t invite them

Send it out in Advance

  • Give people a chance to prepare so they have time to give concise feedback (and they come prepared)
  • Don’t include “ancillary” people

Make Time for “Real” Human Interaction

  • We’re not barbarians after all
  • Kick things off with some niceties

Avoid Time Wasters

  • Don’t go off-topic
    • If someone raises an important, but not entirely related point, make a note and meet about it later
  • Beware of “brain storms”
    • It’s often better to vet a few ideas in advance and communicate and fine-tune as a leader during the meeting

Start on Time

  • Regardless of full attendance…people will get the hint

Actionable Outcome or Purpose

  • Start with a clear objective in one sentence
  • Close with an action plan
    • Big picture
    • Individual task list

The Agenda

  • :05 Intro (human interaction + objective)
  • :20 Meat of the meeting
  • :05 Action steps

We can do it if we try…let’s create a new paradigm.