What’s the Best Size for Making Meetings Productive?

Stanford researcher, Paul Sutton, found that when meeting size exceeded 8 people, productivity was decreased. 5- 8 is most productive. Often, we attend meetings and wonder why we are sitting through agenda items that are not in our work sphere. Instead of inviting everyone, think about who really needs to attend and keep the numbers to 8 and under. Shorten meetings to only include a few agenda items that concern all of those attending.

Some advantages of smaller size meetings include:

• Greater participation by all members
• More opportunity for true dialogue
• There is less need to bring outsiders up to speed on issues they do not understand.
• People feel safer and are more willing to share.

How might you streamline your meetings to increase your productivity? How might you use the strategy of small fires to enhance authentic face-to-face communication?

Source: “The Most Productive Meetings Have Fewer than 8 People.” by Paul Axtell