Power of the Huddle: The Next Generation of Meetings

| By: Steve Farnan
If you had to identify in one word the reason why the human race has not achieved, and never will achieve, its full potential, that word would be meetings. —Dave Barry, humor columnist & author

Admit it, we’ve all felt that way at some point. As the time-honored quintessential tool for sharing information, seeking feedback and resolving issues, meetings are here to stay. But they’re often dreaded due to length, repetitiveness, and lack of focus. So how do you keep meetings from draining the life out of actually getting anything done in your business?

The answer is not so much in the concept as the execution. Today’s smart companies, across size and industry, know the secret is in the huddle—a daily briefing (brief being the key word) of information and priorities. Its success shouldn’t be surprising, really, when you consider the huddle’s role in football: short, yet effective, communication and direction to team members who are then able to take immediate action.

With that visual, let’s take a look at some pointers for running a huddle that wins hands-down over traditional meetings for efficiency.

1. Timing is Everything

Most companies find having huddles first thing in the day works best, when minds are fresh and it’s prime time to act on information shared. Other businesses find that immediately before the lunch hour or end-of-day is more effective. The important thing is consistency, so everyone involved can plan their schedules accordingly.

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2. Keep It Short

Herein lies the beauty of this micro meeting. The ideal length of a huddle is no more than 15 minutes and everyone is back at work.

3. Just the Facts

Huddles are not the place for lengthy discussions. It’s all about headlines. Plan to cover a very limited number of topics, touching on only the hottest new information, action item updates, and task assignments.

4. Standing Room Only

Unlike the familiar conference room gathering, sitting is not allowed. Everyone engaged in the huddle is standing, which encourages focus and discourages separate breakout conversations.

5. All Eyes to the Front

OK, maybe not literally. But the idea is to avoid the distractions of screens and phones.

Huddles will not replace the need for lengthier, more in-depth meetings better suited for brainstorming and problem solving. But they are a great way to regularly check the pulse of your business and build a culture of unity. Consider giving them a try, if even on a trial basis, and see if your team doesn’t quickly embrace the newfound productivity.

So, in the spirit of the huddle, ready…break.