You may have read about a leaked email from Elon Musk, detailing his advice for improved staff efficiency - the electric car supremo has some radical ideas about meetings.

Musk’s six productivity guidelines heavily featured meeting etiquette, with the suggestion that you should walk out of a meeting when you have stopped adding value and that large meetings should be avoided or kept as short as possible. He also said "excessive meetings are the blight of big companies and almost always get worse over time".

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Stand up for meeting success

IIf you’re thinking it sounds plain crazy to leave your chair and head for the door during your weekly meeting, it may be time to refresh your approach to business gatherings. Musk’s advice about keeping meetings short and focused is radical but anecdotal. Qualified research, however, has shown that standing up during meetings is actually better for productivity.

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Shorter is sweeter

Stanford Business School held a study with 56 work teams who had stand-up meetings vs. 55 groups holding seated meetings. In all cases, the meetings were short - roughly 10 to 20 minutes. In the stand-up meetings, groups took 34% less time making decisions, with no real difference in the quality of the decision.

On foot meetings for focus

Another business giant, Sir Richard Branson, endorses the ‘on your feet’ approach. Branson is quoted as saying: “I like to take a different approach to meetings. One of my favourite tricks is to conduct most of my meetings standing up. I find it to be a much quicker way of getting down to business, making a decision and sealing the deal.”

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Time to ditch the traditional desk?

Cutting the duration of meetings can be achieved by better office design. MPL Interiors can devise, supply and install podium desks and bar-style work surfaces that are perfect for staff to assemble around. They often take up less room than a traditional meeting table, so are perfect for offices where space is at a premium.

Start thinking in the Musk/Branson mindset and explore standing meetings with MPL today.