Is a 30-minute meeting long enough?

Everyone has a busy schedule, so when you’re hosting a meeting, it’s important to use time efficiently.

Go into it with a definite purpose and estimate how long it’s likely to last. Compiling a detailed agenda will ensure everyone knows what to expect, so they can organise their diary accordingly.

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Sometimes, a quick 15-minute get-together first thing in the morning to liaise on plans for the day ahead can be enough. However, the general rule is that a meeting will last somewhere between 30 minutes and one hour.

Achieving meeting efficiency

If you’re the organiser, you may ask yourself, is a 30-minute meeting long enough?

Most executives agree 30 minutes is the ideal meeting time. This is because it avoids the potential for repetition and consequently a loss of focus. When meetings go on for too long, the debate often starts going round in circles because concentration is lapsing.

Before the business on the agenda commences, make it clear whether it’s a meeting for discussion or a meeting to listen. This ensures everyone’s on the same page, and they all know what to expect.

The best way to avoid wasting time is to follow the meeting agenda and stick to it. Avoid going off topic and letting people speak for too long when the debate has obviously reached a conclusion.

Making sure everyone is heard

As an organiser, knowing how to run an efficient meeting ensures people will go away feeling satisfied it has been a useful experience, rather than looking at the time and thinking they should have been doing something else.

Research shows the average length of a business meeting in the UK is between 30 and 60 minutes. However, psychologists say the average attention span is around 18 minutes, so don’t plan a longer schedule just for the sake of it.

During any meeting where discussion is invited, leave enough time for everyone’s opinion to be heard. Your goal is to make sure the ideas are put out there so team members can build on them through a healthy debate.

Consider how many people are attending and how much time should be allocated for each section. At the end of the event, everyone in the meeting room should feel satisfied they’ve had their say and been understood.

Giving the agenda careful consideration and planning in advance will make sure you get it right.

Best time for meetings

Another useful tip is to ask your team if they prefer morning or afternoon meetings. This makes them feel valued when their opinion is sought.

It can be a major challenge making sure delegates are alert and engaged for the duration. According to employee polls, the best time for a meeting is between 10am and 2pm on a typical working day. This schedule is roughly the same in every office.

Meeting at 10am for 30 minutes gives employees time to catch up on emails and calls when they arrive at work. Then, they have enough time after the meeting to complete other tasks before the afternoon even begins.

Always aim to finish five minutes early, rather than late. It frustrates people when they have been given a schedule, only to find the meeting is overrunning.

Having a meeting at 4pm on a Friday afternoon is seldom a good idea. It’s usually considered the “graveyard slot”, as people are thinking about the weekend ahead and their concentration isn’t as focused.

What type of meetings should run over 30 minutes?

While 30 minutes is considered the ideal duration of a meeting, there are occasions when it can justifiably go on for longer.

For example, a decision-making meeting, when colleagues are discussing matters that require a significant decision afterwards, will require more time. Again, it’s important to determine the key action items and base your agenda on how long you estimate it will take to give everyone a fair hearing.

Similarly, an agreement meeting is one of the most important gatherings you can organise, as its aim is to make sure all attendees are moving forward in sync. An interactive discussion is required at this type of meeting, so everyone has a full understanding of the project and goals. This kind of gathering will usually require longer than 30 minutes.

An action planning meeting is also likely to last for longer than 30 minutes, as it helps the team to move forward with clarity. An action plan is an important document, as it contains step-by-step instructions on how to collectively meet a defined objective or deadline. However, even when organising these types of meetings, it remains the case that you should aim for a maximum duration of 60 minutes.

At the end of each meeting, don’t assume everything has gone well: always ask for feedback. We spend a lot of time in meetings and it’s important to make sure they’re effective for everyone.

Hiring a meeting room in London

Even if you’re organising a relatively short meeting, it’s possible to hire a meeting room away from the hustle and bustle of the office to help everyone focus more clearly.

Take advantage of the opportunities for meeting room hire in London to give your team a great environment to brainstorm, team-build or discuss projects.

Make sure the meeting resonates with everyone in attendance, no matter what their preconceived notions may have been.

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