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Each week on Two Guys on Your Head, Dr. Art Markman and Dr. Bob Duke, explore different aspects of human behavior and the brain.

Why Meetings Feel Like They Take Forever - and How to Fight That

Flickr user reynermedia,

Does size matter when it comes to meetings? 

Actually, yes. It’s not a myth. Contrary to popular belief, when it comes to meetings, it’s better to keep it on the small side. Short and sweet is best.

Efficiency of the shared time spent during a meeting is a primary determinant of its potential for effectiveness. The Two Guys, Dr. Art Markman and Dr. Bob Duke, break down the best practices to ensure that the meetings you call will achieve their intended purpose. 

Give it a listen.

Some of the highlights of their guidelines for carrying out quality meetings are to:

  • Start with a clear objective.  If there is no social objective – a requirement for  some kind of collaborative input, a need for group discussion, or need to create a unified sense of purpose – maybe you shouldn't hold the meeting.  Communicate your message more effectively through a memo and let people receive it at their convenience.
  • The average attention span for receiving information being delivered is about 20 minutes. Limit your scheduled time blocks to what is actually needed to deliver the message and accomplish the collective goal of the meeting.
  • Limit your agenda of subjects to three – yes, three –  key topics.  That’s all people tend to retain anyway.
  • Always review a summary of those key topics at the end of the meeting.
  • Evaluate and determine a plan of action at the end of every meeting based on the material discussed.  Delegate tasks and assign responsibility to each group member for accomplishing some role in the plan of action.

Hopefully these guidelines will help you increase productivity and effectiveness.  And hey, if the old routine is in need of a renewal to encourage innovation, don’t be afraid to change it up. Use your head.

Rebecca McInroy is an award-winning show creator, host, and executive producer for KUT, KUTX, and KUT.ORG.
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