June 15

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Efficiency is the key to success

By Ralph Varcoe

June 15, 2020

productivity hacks

2.2   Stand-up for Efficiency

Productivity hack no.18 from '60 Ways to Hurray! by Ralph Varcoe.


When you are holding a meeting try mixing it up a little. It’s harder to do this when you’re the ‘guest’ at someone else’s but when you’re in control you can do what you like.

  • Take the chairs away
  • Ban laptops from the tables
  • Put mobiles and tablets on silent, then in pockets or bags (face down on the table is ok too)

Hold your meeting standing up and get people to focus. You will be amazed at how quickly you can motor through the things that are important and make some real decisions together.

This approach stops people thinking a meeting is somewhere to set up their temporary office for an hour, working on their own stuff while sort of not quite listening and certainly not actively participating.

And, don’t offer tea and coffee at the start of a meeting. It’s not a social gathering. People can get a drink before and bring it with them if they want. The meeting is a massive use of resources and should be run as efficiently and effectively as possible. Think about the last few meetings you’ve been in and do the maths - the number of people multiplied by the average hourly rate multiplied by the duration of the meeting. Expensive.

To make your stand-up meetings work well you should nominate a chairperson and a scribe. Rotate them every meeting. It is the chairperson’s job to move things through the agenda swiftly and efficiently. It is the scribe’s job to write down what was agreed, who owns each item, and by when it’s getting done.

Rotating the jobs is important so that everyone has to participate and is kept fresh. Everyone feels like they have some ownership of the meetings and the output.

Make your meetings stand-out by having them as stand-ups. Pretty soon everyone will love your meetings because they are short, punchy and get stuff accomplished.

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Ralph Varcoe

About the author

For over 20 years, Ralph has run sales and marketing teams across large enterprises and smaller start-ups, at companies such as Orange, Tata Communications, Virgin Media, Spirit Ai and others. He brings a wealth of experience in personal and professional development with a laser focus on enabling people to achieve more than they thought possible. He's a published author and musician with a passion for creating - be that change, the right solution, exciting campaigns, the right environment for customers to succeed, or podcasts, videos and written content.

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