How Facebook, LBN Partners, and More Have Improved the Stand Up Meeting
Note: You got us, this was our April Fools' post! That said, if you really do try one of these meetings, we salute you. If you’ve sat through enough meetings, you know the longer you’re there, the less engaged you feel. To encourage shorter, more focused meetings, “stand-up” meetings have become popular, under the assumption that mild discomfort will speed up the proceedings. However, with more people using standing desks, this is becoming a less effective incentive. We interviewed four companies to identify how they’re iterating on standing meetings.
How to Run a Lie-Down Meeting
Facebook is one of the leaders in fostering a great organizational culture, so it should come as no surprise that they are pioneering new meeting formats. The lie-down meeting is their latest effort to make employees feel comfortable in their work environment.
- Prepare the space. Start by choosing a spacious setting to hold this meeting and clear the floor (you may need to vacuum/sweep).
- Take a knee. No need to rush down to the ground. We encourage you and your team to ease into this position by starting with a kneel.
- Start in supine. Once the group is kneeling, go ahead and transition to your backs so that you’re lying face up. Pro tip: put your heads in the center of the circle (legs facing out) to increase team alignment.
- Make sure to speak up. Because you will be looking up at the ceiling, you won’t be able to see each other, or tell who’s directing their comments at whom. It’s important to project your voice loudly so everyone can hear you. Start your sentences by yelling the name of the person you want to address, or yell “everyone!” if you need to address the group.
- Enjoy the shortened meeting. Between the lower back pain caused by the hard floor, the dirt and crud you missed during your initial sweep, and your inability to tell whose turn it is to speak due to the lack of eye contact and other missed body language cues, your team will be eager to wrap this meeting up as quickly as possible.
- Need a challenge? If your team has gotten used to these lie-down meetings, alternately, your team can lay prone on the floor. The fatigue from lifting up with your core when you need to speak, combined with the smells you might pick up when lying face-down on a carpet, will encourage people to get to the point.
How to Run a Plank Meeting
LBN Partners helps their clients amplify and optimize their targeting, so it's no surprise that they are constantly looking for ways to hone their meetings. Plank meetings keep meetings short while energizing the team.
- Start in prone. Once you’ve prepared your space like you would for a lie-down meeting, come to the floor and lay flat on your stomach.
- Activate the core. Come up to your forearms, keeping your back straight (we don’t need any injuries!), making sure to use your core to keep steady.
- Work quickly! This position is a burner. You will likely have about 60 to 90 seconds before your brain starts tuning out the meeting and doing everything in its power to get you to fall to the floor. Make the most of that time by having everyone in the group shout out a single issue they want to address at the same time.
- Get back to make-time. You can now stop planking, and get back to doing the work that matters.
How to Run a Chairless Meeting
When you're a startup, budgets are tight—you may not have chairs, let alone adequate floor space for a lie-down or plank meeting. Fortunately, this space-saving meeting format can be adopted by any team.
- Find a blank wall. Have your team line up against a wall. Pro tip: for better communication, look for two walls facing each other.
- Assume the position. Press your back against the wall and slowly slide down until you are in a seated position.
- Quickly check in. Though you will certainly start to feel the burn in your quads right away, you should have time to check in with each teammate one at a time. Remember to focus on only your most pressing issue, as you won’t want to stay in this position for very long.
How to Run a Headstand Meeting
At Perform for Life, the team truly embodies its company's values by holding headstand meetings. These meetings are also ideal when you need a new perspective on a chronic issue.
- Start against a wall. These meetings are the most advanced of them all. To keep your team safe, make sure your first attempt at a headstand is with a wall behind you. You can also designate one person as a spotter (shown above) to help with form and balance.
- Make your turn known. You might find it’s hard to project your voice while upside down. To get your team’s attention, kick the wall three times so they know it’s your turn to speak.
- Keep your balance! The trick here is to be able to stay balanced long enough to check in with your team. You’re combining fatigue with the fact that all of your blood is now rushing to your head, so the sooner you can wrap this meeting up the better.
Takeaway: Familiarity breeds longer meetings. Change up the format if you want to regain focus and increase productivity.
P.S. April Fools!