How Long Should a Meeting Last To Stop Wasting Time

Meetings are more prominent than ever so it's important to use everyone's time wisely and schedule each meeting efficiently and purposefully.

By Hannah Ross  •   November 30, 2021  •   7 min read

Before you schedule your next meeting, it’s important to determine the purpose. If your update can be an email, send out a quick note. If you need to meet for something more intensive, be mindful that your meeting is no longer than one hour. Depending on the subject matter, your meeting should be 15 minutes to 30 minutes, and no longer than 60 minutes.

This article will dive into the optimal meeting length for each type of meeting while also touching on key factors that should be taken into consideration when planning for your next meeting. 

What is the optimal length of a meeting?

How long should a meeting last? Keep reading to find out how long you should schedule your next meeting for! 

1 Information Sharing 

An information sharing meeting is exactly what it sounds like. This meeting is designed to share information with all attendees. The information shared at this meeting can be a quick update, in-depth feedback, company news, upcoming changes, product updates or releases, or even knowledge sharing. If the information-sharing meeting is being hosted to share knowledge, it can be done in the form of a webinar, training session, or conference. 

During an information sharing meeting, it’s best to come prepared with visual support. Preparing a slide deck or visual presentation will not only help you convey your message more clearly, but it will also ensure that all participants are able to follow along; helping you run a more efficient meeting. 

When deciding how long your meeting should be, it’s important to take the subject matter and agenda into consideration. These meetings can run anywhere from 15 minutes to 60 minutes depending on the subject matter and how long it takes you to pass the knowledge on to all attendees. 

Make every meeting delightful.

Show up to every meeting with a detailed agenda to ensure the best use of time with a meeting software tool like Fellow.

2 Brainstorming

A brainstorming meeting is meant to cultivate new ideas, explore alternative approaches, or work through tricky problems in an attempt to find innovative or creative solutions. Brainstorming meetings can be held with two or more people and the end goal should be to generate as many new ideas as possible. 

An efficient meeting can last anywhere from 15 to 45 minutes but the optimal time for a brainstorming meeting or session is usually 30 minutes. If your brainstorming session lasts longer than one hour, it may become redundant or repetitive. 

Once you’ve finished brainstorming, it’s important to make room for deep work and execution if you want to increase team productivity. Fellow’s Meeting Guidelines feature set helps eliminate back to back meetings by making them speedy. With the help of this feature, meeting organizers are automatically prompted to shorten the meetings they’re creating by 5 – 10 minutes, so attendees can get a break in between meetings. Less meeting fatigue, and more time for deep work!

3 Discussion 

The purpose of a discussion meeting may vary depending on the purpose or end goal of the discussion. During any discussion meeting, it’s important that everyone’s opinion is heard and understood by all parties. The goal should be to get any and all ideas out on the table while building on them, and fleshing them out. At the end of your discussion meeting, everyone in attendance should feel heard and understood. 

If you’re looking to run extremely efficient discussion meetings, it’s important that meetings are scheduled in advance so everyone that needs to be part of the discussion can add the meeting to their calendar and make sure to be in attendance. 

4 Agreement/Alignment 

An agreement or alignment meeting is arguably one of the most important meetings you can host or attend because they enable and empower all attendees to align and move forward in sync. The purpose of an agreement or alignment meeting is to have an interactive discussion so everyone in attendance can develop a mutual understanding of the purposes and goals of the project. 

After an agreement or alignment meeting has concluded, all key stakeholders, participants, and collaborators should be aligned and ready to move forward in unison. This meeting can range from 30 to 60 minutes as long as everyone in attendance leaves on the same page. 

5 Decision Making

If you want to make a better decision, you have to host an adequate meeting. Knowing how to properly host or attend a decision-making meeting is imperative as these meetings are a crucial tool that are used within every organization. 

A decision-making meeting is used by teammates when they need to formally agree on a substantial decision that will act as a benchmark for future projects. If you’re trying to determine the amount of time that should be allotted for a decision-making meeting, you first need to create an agenda and determine the key action items that will be discussed during the meeting. 

An effective decision making meeting can range from 15 minutes to 60 minutes and can help businesses thrive while an unsuccessful meeting may end up wasting everyone’s time. 

6 Action Planning

If you want to move forward with clarity, and effectiveness an action planning meeting is exactly what you need. Action plans are simply a document that is comprised of step-by-step action items or steps that you or a collective needs to finish to meet a defined objective, goal, or deadline. 

5 Things to keep in mind about meetings

Planning and scheduling the perfect meeting can be difficult if you don’t know where to start. Luckily, we’ve rounded up a few tips and tricks for you to consider while planning your next meeting. 

1 Consider how many people are attending

Determining how many people that will be attending your next meeting is key when it comes to planning a meeting because it will help you determine how long the meeting should last. If key stakeholders need to participate or weigh in, the meeting may last longer. If a teammate from marketing needs to align with someone from sales, you will have to dedicate a section within your agenda to this conversation. 

Knowing how many people will be in attendance will ensure you can plan accordingly and allot the perfect amount of time to your next meeting. 

2 Decide how much time to allocate for each section in the agenda

Creating a thorough meeting agenda with specific sections that are dedicated to key topics or action items is a great way to keep your meetings running smoothly. You can take your organizational skills one step further and allocate a certain amount of time for each section. 

Allocating a certain amount of time for each section will not only help you determine how long the meeting will be, but it will also help keep everyone on track when moving throughout the agenda.  

3 Ask your team if they prefer morning or afternoon meetings

One of the most sought-after skills as a manager or leader is learning how to bring out the best in people and in order to do that, you need to learn how and when your teammates work best. If your teammates feel most alert and productive in the morning, that’s when you should schedule your team meetings. If your teammates prefer to leave the morning for deep work, you should respect their wishes and schedule your meetings in the afternoon. 

4 Always aim to finish 5 minutes early

Having a busy schedule with back-to-back meetings can be daunting, especially if every meeting runs right up until the last minute. Not only does ending a meeting a few minutes early give time back to your team, but it also ensures your teammates have time to recharge and tie up any loose ends before the next meeting. To finish 5 minutes early, it is imperative to use a meeting template.

5 Don’t assume. Ask for feedback instead.

Feedback is one of the greatest gifts you will receive in the workplace and oftentimes you won’t receive it unless you ask. Receiving feedback not only helps you improve as a leader or manager, but it also enables you to optimize the workplace by creating an environment that speaks to your teammates wants and needs. We all spend tons of time in meetings and it’s important to make sure they’re running efficiently. Use’s feedback feature to request and give instant feedback after meetings.

How long should a meeting last?

Many factors should be taken into consideration when determining how long your meeting should last. You must determine the purpose of the meeting, the type of the meeting, how many people will be in attendance, how much time has been allocated to each section within the agenda, and what the main goal or objective is for the meeting. 

Ultimately, you will want to make sure that the subject matter has been discussed and everyone in attendance has had the opportunity to process and contribute to the discussion. After you’ve taken each one of these factors into consideration, it’s important that you take your teammates’ schedules into account, and schedule a meeting that aligns with their preferences. 

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