Have you ever opened the Settings in your Google Calendar?
I find that it’s not something you typically do. I’ve been rocking the Gmail settings for a while (enabling keyboard shortcuts on my inbox is a BIG productivity booster for me), but Google Calendar’s settings? Not so much. Until recently when our CTO Guillaume told me something pretty interesting. He managed to cut down his average meeting time by 7 minutes and 30 seconds over the past month. How did he do it? He enabled the “Speedy meetings” option on his Google Calendar.
Speedy Meetings, what’s that?
Google Calendar sets your default meeting time at 1 hour. You can change that, but the other options seem a bit odd: you can pick longer default time (you can, but do you want to? probably not). Then, shorter time means reducing to 30 minutes. Running 30-minutes meetings by default seems a bit drastic, although I’d like to try it to see for myself. But there’s the alternative setting called “Speedy Meetings”, here’s what it does:
Encourage meeting efficiency and get to your next meeting on time.
30 minute meetings end 5 minutes early, 1 hour and longer meetings end 10 minutes early.
Guillaume just went the full month of August with Speedy Meetings enabled. As it turns out, it helped him reduce his average meeting time by about 7min30.
Analyzing Guillaume’s meeting schedule
On Solid, you get data about your meeting habits (sign up for a free account and check it out for yourself :)). Guillaume attends an average of 61 meetings each month. That’s a little above 3 per day. A number otherwise known as: quite a lot. Most of his meetings can be broken down into two categories:
- 1 hour recurring meetings with various team members (they’re more than sheer status meetings, call them manager meetings)
- 1 hour meetings, either face-to-face or by call. Examples include interviewing candidates, managing our server provider, and occasional calls with clients
That is to say, most of his meetings are scheduled to last an hour. In reality, they last longer than that. It is clearly shown by his average meeting duration: 1 hour and 9 minutes. So Speedy Meetings is relevant for his meeting habits. Instead of 1 hour, he’ll schedule 50-minutes-long meetings. This will bring him to effectively attempt to close the meetings 10 minutes earlier, when possible. Here’s how this simple setting impacted his average meeting duration in August:
That’s a drop from 79 minutes in July to 61min30 in August. And roughly a gain of 7min30 on his average meeting duration of 1 hour 9 minutes.
Of course, it’s a bit too early to jump to solid conclusions (pun most definitely intended). After all, Guillaume did manage a 62 minutes average in February, with the setting turned off. So we’ll keep an eye on this graph in the following months to see how it fares.
But for now, I just want to suggest that checking the Speedy Meeting setting isn’t a drastic change to your daily life, so why not try it?
Also important to note: according to a survey we did among 1000 french managers, the average attention span in a meeting is 52 minutes. Aiming for 50-minutes meetings would ensure that your attention is always on point. Your attention, as well as that of the other attendees. If nobody listens, you might as well not have had that meeting in the first place.
Want to learn more about your meeting habits? Trying to find how to run better meetings and use them as a way to positively impact your team’s productivity? Try out Solid. It’s free and easy to use.