April 11, 2009
Meetings are a great method for sharing information, developing task items, getting feedback, and so forth. However, I think meetings outlive their effectiveness once they reach a certain length threshold.
Obviously, the premise of the chart above is that the longer a meeting is, the least effective it is. The same goes for meetings that are too short. The reason I did not specify actual time lengths in the chart is that every team operates uniquely. Different teams with different goals produce a need for a unique collaborative environment.
Discovering the ideal meeting length that you and your team can work best with is a continual process of optimizing. You may have to experiment with new ways of managing meetings or measuring meeting outcomes. The truth is, you may never determine what your ideal meeting length is. But striving to optimize is what you should aim to achieve.
For my own personal preference, and as a general guideline, I find meetings are only too short depending on the purpose of the meeting. However, for just about any meeting, time lengths beyond an hour begin to seriously hamper its effectiveness.
As humans, we have a memory buffer that can only hold and process so much information. Once that buffer has been filled, we begin to lose information. I’ve found one hour to be my buffer overload zone.
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