Ready for the 5-Minute Meeting?

Time-limits alone aren't enough


Providing co-workers critical updates and sharing novel ideas is essential to an integrated, vibrant, and productive team.  It was in the spirit of this collaboration and a testament to the “two-heads-are-better-than-one” mentality that regular intra-office meetings were born.  But with a trend toward open-office concepts with tightly regulated meeting spaces, increases in off-site employees, and a greater premium placed on efficiency, the regularly occurring 1-hour meeting is no longer a viable calendar event.[1]

To achieve the benefits of consistent and open communication without the loss of productivity that can accompany traditional meetings, companies are increasingly exploring the 5-minute meeting.  Also known as “lightening meetings” or “drive-by conversations” this trend was documented in a recent Wall Street Journal article.[2]

But it’s not enough to simply impose a strict time limit on meetings and institute creative ways to cut off speakers who start to ramble.  To gain the benefits of the 5-minute meeting without sacrificing information quality, businesses must purposefully train employees how to perform in this high-pressure environment. 

If speakers don’t know how to get to the point, emphasize the information’s utility, and quickly explain what’s next, then rapid-fire meetings will backfire.  Similarly, if meeting organizers don’t have diverse tools to skillfully manage a high-efficiency meeting, including clearly establishing expectations, it can result in low quality information exchange and even hurt feelings.  On the other hand, if participants learn and practice techniques in word economy, efficiency, and information ordering and encapsulation, 5-minute meetings can reap all the touted benefits while leaving quality time for implementation and follow-up.

Fortunately, coaching employees in the art of efficiency is, itself, efficient.  We have an easy-to-implement system that prepares presenters to concisely convey quality information.  It’s a great topic for an active lunch-and-learn or team huddle.  And taking a few minutes to develop your employees’ presentation toolkit will pay immediate dividends.

To learn more about The Professional Communicators’ services, visit or give us a call.


[1] Don’t get us wrong, longer meetings are still essential for program roll-outs, long-term planning, major strategy discussions, and other multifaceted projects where detail and stakeholder discussion are critical.

[2] Can You Keep Your Meeting to Five Minutes? Sue Shellenbarger, Wall Street Journal, November 7, 2017