Remember those days of back-to-back hour-long meetings?

Well, they’re gone, and they won’t be coming back— I mean ever.

I’m not saying that we won’t have an occasional 60-minute meeting, but videoconferencing is changing more than where we meet; it’s also changing for how long we meet.

I hate to say, “I told you so” (Ok, I LOVE to say “I told you so”), but I’ve noticed that more and more people are adopting the 15, 25 and 50-minute meeting approach. (Those sacrificed 5 and 10 minutes? They’re for getting things in order before the next meeting. Novel idea, right?)

When you said, “let’s meet”, ten years ago, it meant an hour. Maybe even longer if someone was flying in for the meeting. (Wow, remember flying in for a meeting!?)

Today, we need to be more precise about timings – and there had better be an agenda. No agenda, no meeting.

We no longer take 60-minute meetings with strangers – people we just met through LinkedIn.

Now it’s a 15-minute “get to know you”. In and out. If we want more time in the sandbox together, we can always agree to another meeting.

Personally, I know if I’m potentially going to do business with someone in the first three minutes, and I will close down a first meeting in five if the chemistry is not right. Why waste the other person’s time – even if she is not cognizant of the wide gap that has no potential of reaching fruition? If you feel bad about stopping a meeting dead in its tracks before the scheduled end-time, remember that continuing with something that will not give you future value always creates a deficit. Why would you knowingly do that?

With Teams and Zoom, there is no coffee, no waiting room, no nonsense.

The intensity of two faces staring at each other augmented by eyes darting to the bottom right-hand corner of the screen where tiny numbers register 11:19, then 11:23, and it’s time to wrap things up. Get the next actions down and the next touch point in the calendar. “Do we really need 25 next time? Let’s go for 15!” That, ladies and gentlemen, is the new mindset; well, at least 90% of the time.

There are probably as many benefits to this way as there are negative aspects. I am not here to judge whether the post-Covid variants promotes more or better business. I’m just tellin’ it like it is.

Will we go back to those 60-minute marathons? Nah, not on a regular basis. Those who disagree probably still have shelves of cassette tapes and dusty LP’s in a guest room.

Michael Hoffman

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