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Are you sitting down for your meetings?

MBJ Editorial

Meetings are the bane of business organizations. You have to have them. Everyone hates them.

“I don’t have time.” “We never get anything done.” “So-and-so never shuts up.”

And on the whining goes, ad nauseum.

A recently published report indicates that one way to cut down the length of time for meetings is to have the participants stand up. No chairs allowed.

Plenty of companies have tried this approach, but often, it is met with derision. Serious meetings for serious issues demand the big chairs around the boardroom table, right?

Maybe not.

According to researchers from the University of Missouri, after studying 111 meetings, those with the participants seated lasted longer than meetings in which the participants remained standing. Here’s the critical point: They also found that the quality of decision-making was the same for both formats.

“Everyone hates meetings in organizations,” said Dr. Allen C. Bluedorn, professor of management at the University of Missouri’s College of Business and Public Administration. “They’re usually poorly done. We expected the quality of the decision making to suffer when the meetings were conducted standing up. But there was no significant difference.”

In a world where every business is looking for an edge, maybe sans-chairs meetings are right for you. In the very least, perhaps having to stand up will wear down your organization’s most talkative staffer to the point that he or she will have to listen. And listening is really what the best meetings are all about.

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