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Speed meeting

by Randall Craig on November 20, 2007

Filed in: Blog, Communication, Make It Happen Tipsheet, Management

Tagged as: , , ,

Does every meeting you attend need to feel like a marathon? Sometimes yes, but most of the time, meetings drag on inappropriately – or at least they seem to.

How quickly can you finish a meeting? If it is scheduled for 30 minutes, can you get it done in 20? Or 10? Unlike speed-dating, where the object is to meet as many people as possible in as short a time as possible, the idea behind speed-meeting is to pare the agenda down to include only those items that require the meeting attendees to be there.

  • Can some of the discussion be better handled one-on-one before the group gets together?
  • Can any decisions be made beforehand, and then validated by the group?
  • If the purpose is to disseminate information, will each attendee have the same information needs?
  • What would happen if you used other communications channels, such as email, teleconferences, or web-meetings?

If a meeting typically takes 3 hours, and is attended by 10 people, slicing the time in half frees up 15 hours: two entire person-days of work effort!

On the other hand, speed-meeting is not a good concept if your goal is to foster teamwork or develop relationships (eg initial sales calls, job interviews, employee evaluations).

This week’s action item: Choose your next regularly scheduled meeting, and pare the time down by half. What must change for this to happen? Is anything really lost? There is nothing wrong with marathon meetings, but learning how to sprint – speed-meetings – is just as important.

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Randall Craig

@RandallCraig (follow me)



Randall has been advising on Web and Social Strategy since 1994 when he put the Toronto Star online, the Globe and Mail's GlobeInvestor/Globefund, several financial institutions, and about 100+ other major organizations. He is the author of seven books, including the recently released "Everything Guide to Starting an Online Business", and speaks across North America on Social Media and Web Strategy. More at and

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