Is your Google calendar so filled with work meetings that you don’t even have space for lunch or an unscheduled conversation with a colleague?  If so, you may be feeling the way I have lately – frustrated because I want to be available to my team and my customers, yet find myself in conference rooms all day.  Meetings can be important, but how many of us attend meetings where our input really isn’t needed or that are standing, 1 hr (or longer) weekly meetings regardless of the real need/agenda.  If meetings are draining your time and your morale, it’s time to make a change.  Let’s take back our schedules by starting a meeting revolution!

Just two weeks ago, I didn’t believe it was possible to change meeting culture.  I just stewed in my frustration. In mentioning it to my wife, she suggested that I start talking about it at work, maybe even with my boss.  At first, I thought she was crazy to suggest this, as I was concerned that if I said something about it I might come off as a whiner.  Well, I was so frustrated one day that I asked my boss how we could be available to our team when we are stuck in meetings all day.  Then at a divisional all-day meeting, I mentioned my concern about lack of availability to colleagues due to back-to-back meetings.  Suddenly, several others expressed similar concerns.   My boss then said something powerful – that we could change it!

The next day he sent the entire division a video clip of Nicole Steinbok giving an “Ignite” presentation on the “22-minute Meeting.”  Check out her presentation here:

If you are as inspired as our team was after watching this, you can try it with meetings that you schedule/control.  Make your next staff meeting or project meeting 22-minutes by sending any reading/research material ahead of time, having a clear agenda, starting and ending on time.  Here is a poster from Nicole Steinbok that spells out how to do it:

Last week we had a 22-minute team lead meeting as well as a 22-minute staff meeting.  I didn’t think it was possible, but we did it by focusing on two things:  people updates (such as giving recognition) and high level program updates from teams.  These were previously hour-long meetings.  With the extra time, we were able to then handle tactical business issues and decisions in side conversations walking down the hall.   Based on our early success, we plan to give an organization-wide presentation on 22-minute meetings in the hope that it will catch on and become a cultural revolution.

Give it a try and if you like the 22-minute meeting, check out Nicole Steinbok’s  “22 Minute Meeting” Facebook page, too.  Good luck taking back your time!