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3 Ways Standing Up Can Make Team Meetings More Productive

It boosts collaboration and keeps discussions focused

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BY Marishka M. Cabrera - 02 Feb 2018

3 Ways Standing Up Can Make Team Meetings More Productive

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

How many times have you found yourself sitting for almost an hour on a discussion that should have been over and done in 15 minutes? Sadly, you’re not alone.

While necessary, long and frequent meetings can leave the team feeling drained and unproductive.

Next time, try holding stand-up meetings (as opposed to sitting down), and see the amount of time you’ll have in your hands for doing actual work.

“We find the most effective means of communication to update the whole team is to do stand-up meetings,” says David Rosa, co-founder and CEO of Neat, a Hong Kong-based fintech start-up.

He explains, “Everybody stands up and is incentivized to speak clearly and concisely, as peer pressure from everyone else in the team who will get tired of standing up will naturally create the right ‘friction.’”

If you need more convincing, here are three more reasons:

1. Meetings are kept short

“Physically standing prevents meetings that needlessly lag on,” writes Justin Kulla in an Inc. article, adding that in the tech start-up world, engineers hold daily “stand-up” meetings that typically last for only 15 minutes.

Holding shorter meetings allows you to keep people’s attention and ensures that pressing matters are prioritized. Kulla adds, “With frequent shorter meetings, conversation can focus on more tactical work, saving bigger strategic conversations for a more appropriate time.”  

After 15 minutes, Kulla advises, ask the team if there is more to discuss. If so, set aside another time and invite only those who have a stake in that discussion.

2. Discussions are focused

For Zal Dastur, co-founder and COO of Singapore-based omni-channel engagement platform Lucep, one of the biggest mistakes people make during meetings is getting sidetracked by small details, such as color or wording, and discuss it at length.

“This is usually a waste of everyone’s time in that meeting,” Dastur says. “I often find myself noticing when this happens and will usually put a stop to it and push the meeting along to the next item.”

3. Standing up boosts team work

In their study published in Social Psychological and Personality Science, Andrew Knight and Markus Baer of Washington University found that standing during meetings boosts excitement around creative group processes and reduces people’s tendency to be protective of their ideas.

“Organizations should design office spaces that facilitate non-sedentary work,” says Knight in a Science Daily report. “Our study shows that even a small tweak to a physical space can alter how people work with one another.”

Knight saw these types of effects when he worked for a software company, whose engineering team held weekly meetings standing up. “From an outsider’s perspective, these meetings always seemed more collective and interdependent than sitting meetings,” he recalls. “Usually people were crowded around a whiteboard working diligently to resolve a pressing problem. The meeting also seemed more efficient and purposeful.”

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