The increasing number of people using stand-up desks has revived an old idea of having stand-up meetings. Some new office refits even include meeting rooms without chairs and a raised table suitable to work on whilst standing.
The enthusiasm for stand-up meetings has both a positive and negative motive.
The positive dimension is around productivity, efficiency and alertness.
Stand-up meetings are invariably shorter as attendees feel the strain of standing and don’t want the meeting to drag on any longer than necessary.
Attendees of stand-up meetings tend to be more alert and clearer in their thinking.
The other advantage is that paperwork is usually kept to a minimum because there is limited desk space.
The negative driver for stand-up meetings emerges from the unfortunate behaviours of some people who are happy to settle into a comfortable chair around the meeting table for an unlimited amount of time. Being in no rush to leave, their contributions to the meeting are overly long and their questions relentless.
Perhaps the worst example of this behaviour is the person who walks into another person’s office, unannounced, and immediately pulls up a chair prior to starting the conversation. This is a clear signal that the visitor plans an extended conversation.
As a leader, you can signal to others that you want a short, sharp meeting by not sitting down.
If you don’t have meeting rooms specifically set up for this purpose, you could have a walking meeting, or alternatively, a meeting at the workstation of one of the other attendees and stay standing.
If the topic expands and the meeting needs to be extended, you can always retreat to a meeting room (with chairs), or schedule a follow-up meeting.
One more small step in the next 24 hours
Next time one of your regular drop-in visitors arrives, stand up before they get the chance to sit. Unless they are particularly insensitive, they won’t sit and leave you standing.
Similarly, plan a stand-up meeting. The ideal topics for these meetings are project updates, routine briefings or other meetings with short, tight agendas.
Avoid general exploratory-type meetings for the stand-ups because the timeframe for these meetings can be unpredictable.