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In Print The Essentials

The Power of 29-Minute Meetings

29-minute meetings

Evidently, our society has adopted one-hour meetings as the norm. Can you guess what happens when you schedule that whole hour? You manage to fill all 60 minutes with something — whether it’s needed or not.

Just like you, my calendar is full with one-hour meetings. Thankfully, my days are mainly filled with things that I want to do. Recently, however, I found myself dreading a 60-minute meeting I had set up. So ironically — I scheduled one more 60-minute session to evaluate if my feeling of dread was just a one-time thing or a long-term issue.

This time, I concentrated on observing the other person’s body language. Quite frankly, it seemed like she was thinking exactly the same thing that I was: “Are we really going to be here for 60 minutes?” Afterwards, I told myself there had to be a better way.

A couple of weeks later, I made one major change. I shortened my one-on-one meetings from 60 minutes to 29 minutes. Here are the results:

1. We’re more decisive. We don’t overanalyze.

2. We’re more focused. We walk in more prepared and focused on key agenda items.

3. We’re more prompt. We start and end on time. If you’ve been wondering why I say the meetings are 29 minutes and not 30, it’s because we always end early.

4. We’re more available. We have more time to keep our doors open.

5. We’re more profitable. We save payroll while improving club results.

If you lead people, shock your team members and schedule some 29-minute meetings. After the meetings, email the participants the following two questions: What did you like? What didn’t you like? Be sure to contemplate their responses.

Finally, make a decision on whether you want to continue the shorter meetings. Every team’s needs are unique, but I think exploring laser-focused meetings is worthwhile.


Derek Deprey is the general manager and director of training and development for the Wisconsin Athletic Club. Email him at ddeprey@thewac.com.

Derek Deprey

Derek Deprey is the director of people and service at Wisconsin Athletic Club.

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