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Can you stand chairless meetings?

As might be expected, stand-up business meetings are shorter. Just as important, and perhaps surprisingly, the quality of decisionmaking is as high as it is in more conventional sit-down sessions, say researchers at the University of Missouri, Columbia.

The researchers studied more than 100 meeting groups, comprised of five students each. Half were assigned to conduct sit-down meetings, while the remainder were instructed to perform their tasks in a stand-up mode.

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Although the researchers had hypothesized that the sit-down meetings would produce greater synergy and more commitment to the group's decisions, they found the methods equally effective. And stand-up meetings were shorter - by a significant 34 percent.

The upright format is most effective where the agenda calls for updates or transmitting bits of information, says Allen Bluedorn, a professor of management in Missouri's College of Business. Brainstormers, he says, should take a seat.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society