Let’s avoid work and have a meeting instead

First-class meetings – which are very rare because they are both short and effective – take place in rooms with no furniture.

Everyone has to stand; there is nowhere to place papers, iPads, food or drink and, as a consequence, everything is done and dusted within 20 minutes.

That’s how many high value tech companies do it these days. City of London urban mythology has it that Jocelyn Hambro of the banking family was the first establishment figure to use the format.

Standing or sitting, it is a given that a meeting that lasts longer than 59 minutes has failed. By then no one is listening and all sane adults in the room want to leave. If there was any justice in the world, by the time the hour was reached the chairman should be led to a place of execution immediately for failing to control and manage the content – before or during.

If you really think you need to have a meeting (are you sure? Really, really sure?) then there is a formula to ensure everyone gets out alive.

Simply answer these three questions and keep your eyes on the clock:

Why are we having this meeting?
Who needs to be at this meeting (and who doesn’t)?
What is the required outcome?

Just to make sure that all goes to plan, fix the meeting to precede a seminal work event such as lunch or the end of the working day.

Check it out here in the Wall Street Journal.