Why Corporate Meetings Should Never Last Longer than One Hour

It may be obvious at this point…then again, given that my last post directly referred to my handmade Halloween costume, maybe not. I have a corporate job, in corporate America. I dress up in fancy clothes and flounce off to work every day, doing my best “knowledgeable professional” impression while chugging coffee. I put together presentations. I submit reports. I write proposals.

And I attend meetings.

Now, I understand the purpose of gathering together to discuss business-y things. Sometimes we need to brainstorm. Sometimes we need to catch everyone up on the status of a project. Sometimes we need team training.

But no meeting should last longer than one hour.

After one hour, attendees stop learning. By this point, I’m plotting my escape; I’m dreaming up daring exploits involving ninja costumes, grappling hooks, and a guest appearance by Channing Tatum dressed as Batman. (Stop judging. I need someone to distract the meeting attendees while I make my escape.)

BatMike...aka "Bruce Wang" (Kudos for this image and slick pun go to the artist: @jeremyhyler on twitter http://www.filmlifeco.com)

BatMike…aka “Bruce Wang” (Kudos for this image and slick pun go to the artist:
@jeremyhyler on twitter

In my experience, everyone participates and takes notes at first. We’re all competing to be the best at meetings. After about 60 minutes, the process devolves into higher-ups arguing about long term intentions, and minions checking Facebook on their phones. After an hour and a half, people on diets are eating the conference room candy and coffee addicts are going through withdrawal. And I’ve added a cameo from Willem Dafoe, reprising his role in Boondock Saints, to my plans.

For your escape-daydream reference,.

For your escape-daydream reference,.

Let’s not even talk about three hour meetings.

If you’re an employer, I hate to tell you this, but I’m going to anyway: You have employees just like me. So ban all meetings over an hour. We’ll be too busy to daydream about movie stars and five minute dance parties set to “99 Red Balloons” because we’ll be working during all that time once dedicated to superfluous, distracted meeting time. Also, you won’t have to refill the meeting room candy as often.

I hope this was informative. If you need me, I’ll be in the conference room. I have an all-day training meeting.

These balloons are on their way to my dance party.

These balloons are on their way to my dance party.