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PhD Candidate in Accounting at University of California, Berkeley Walter A. University of California, Berkeley – Walter A. Can You Keep Your Meeting to Five Minutes? Tired of 30-minute slogs, some companies are instituting strict rules to speed up office discussions.
At some companies, if you’re five minutes late to the meeting, you’ve already missed it. In the time you spend reading this story, your next meeting could be over. Annoyed by a calendar clogged with hourlong meetings, Aaron Shapiro, chief executive of Huge Inc. 1,500-employee New York digital agency, has started holding five-minute meetings. Rather than booking a conference room for 30 minutes, he makes minor decisions in five-minute huddles with colleagues. Jason Schlossberg, who loves to talk, was making a point in a meeting shortly after joining Huge as managing director last April when Mr. Shapiro cut in and told him he understood, and Mr.
I had four more anecdotes to prove that point! Schlossberg says he thought at the time. I choose my words more carefully. Shapiro stands at the forefront of a war on meeting bloat. Weary of long, inefficient meetings, some employers are squeezing minor decision-making sessions into a few minutes. Agile-management techniques embraced years ago by tech companies are bringing brief daily check-in meetings to marketing, e-commerce, advertising and other fields.
There’s no time for small talk, and less tolerance for 30- or 60-minute meetings when five to 15 minutes will do. Participants must learn to distill their ideas and requests to the conference-room equivalent of an elevator pitch. Employees at Scrum50 start brief daily meetings right on time and finish some in as little as four to six minutes, says Chris Parker, managing partner of the South Norwalk, Conn. If you’re five or six minutes late, you’ve missed it. Creative professionals used to making polished presentations must briefly explain mere seeds of ideas or works-in-progress instead, says Scrum50’s executive creative director, Jennifer Miller. The agency has 25-employee teams meet every morning for rapid-fire updates on dozens of projects, says David Foster, chief operating officer. People typically speak for 15 to 30 seconds at a time—or risk being cut off by meeting leaders.