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Stand Up and Be Counted (in Meetings)

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The ‘Meeting Culture’ is under challenge – many organizations are changing the way they run meetings and it’s going to be stand-up job.

I just read this post on the Wall Street Journal blog – No More Angling for the Best Seat; More Meetings Are Stand-Up Jobs – it discusses a software company in Grand Rapids that’s insisting on stand-up meetings. This is the sign of things to come.

You’ve probably been in meetings yourself where the chair is a comfortable zone in which you can listen, day-dream or completely switch off. But more and more organizations are stamping down on the chair, and mandating that employees stay attentive, and erect.

Why? The pace of the modern organization is demanding employees to be sharper and keener, and slouching has no place.

I agree.

I’ve been in countless meetings where it’s been obvious that some attendees are present only to be there for the roll-call, slouching throughout. Have you?

It’s frustrating when, as the meeting holder, it’s clear that some attendees are not there in spirit. Sure, if the meeting is pointless, or it has a flawed agenda, perhaps I’ve deserves it. But that is rarely the case. If we take the right steps to run a meeting properly, and still the meeting is carrying passengers, then we’ve gotta try a different tactic.

Demand the Stand

So if our meetings are failing to create the right momentum, we can try demanding that they’re conducted stood-up. We choose a room with no central table and chairs, and we get right to it.

Standing meetings have to be sharper and punchier, or attendees will start to flag – shuffling from foot to foot, so we’ve gotta be prepared to drive the meeting forward at pace.

We must cut the chit-chat. We must ask direct questions and demand direct answers. We have to maintain pace. This happens easier than you might think.

When I’ve ran standing meetings, the very nature of being upright means that oxygen courses through our veins quicker.  It just works!

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This post is part 10 of 16 in the series Make Meetings Work
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About the author /


Simon is a creative and passionate business leader dedicated to having fun in the pursuit of high performance and personal development. He is co-founder of Applied Change, a Business Change consultancy based in the UK. Simon is also an Ambassador for Gloucestershire business. Simon is an Associate Member of the Chartered Institute of Professional Development.

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