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Another Meeting?!

Dr. Brittany Castonguay 28 Aug 23 #productivity

You know the saying; it could have been an email? Turns out there is some truth in that cliché. Meetings are often inefficient methods that indirectly cost the organization money due to missed or shortened timelines and reduce job satisfaction. Breaking that down, organizations with 100 or more employees reported a loss of nearly $2.5 million due to unnecessary meetings. Meetings eat up time that could have been used for executing tasks. In a survey conducted by Dr. Steven Rogelberg, 86% of those surveyed reported they could have worked more effectively when they had longer periods of uninterrupted time versus sitting in unproductive meetings. This is a waste of personal and organizational time and money. Employees who attend meetings that could have been skipped are the direct result of poor time management by managers. Meetings have become the norm but should now be considered antiquated efforts that can be reduced or eliminated.

teams, productivity
Meetings can cost an organization millions each year in lost productivity

Additionally, of the 632 professionals surveyed by Dr. Rogelberg, 80% stated their productivity would improve if they could skip unnecessary meetings. Likewise, 70% reported their job satisfaction would increase. It makes sense. Suppose you attend a meeting that you do not need to participate in or run too long with poor organization. In that case, you tune out, doze, take notes on something other than the speaker, or become otherwise disinterested and distracted. Meetings are an example of something that has been done one way for a long time without proper innovation and improvement, and those in attendance feel it. If meetings are not genuinely working, why do managers keep pushing for them? Especially when managers spend more than half of their time in meetings.

In a world where Project Management and cutting fat are the buzzwords of senior leaders, meetings are an area that could use some PMP efforts to reduce the fat and lean out the process. The goal should be to reduce meeting times to enhance productivity and keep employees engaged in their tasks versus disengaged in a meeting. Implementing agile techniques can be adjusted, but like all changes, efforts take time and effort to implement lasting change. That is okay; agile efforts can improve meeting efficiency with diligent buy-in and team effort.

  1. Set an agenda focused on outcome-oriented results. The agenda should be precise, focused, and sent out to members beforehand so personnel can accurately depict who must attend the meeting.

  2. Set expectations at the beginning of the meeting. Meeting expectations should be set using SMARTer goals. The individual managing the discussion should begin by stating a specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely objective for the meeting. This will not only help to limit distractions but also set expectations at the beginning of the meeting.

  3. Limit chit-chat. I love a good conversation in the workplace. Catching up over the weekend, asking how family members are doing, and discussing how someone’s latest project is in a holding pattern due to outside input. However, these conversations have no place in a meeting room. Each team member should practice being precise and providing inputs directly related to the agenda. All outside discussions should be redirected to adhere to the meeting agenda.

The ultimate goal of an agile meeting is to reduce redundancy and increase time management skills, productivity, and job satisfaction. If the meeting could have been an email or a one-on-one, don’t set a meeting to get people together. It is not only wasteful but also rude. It's rude because you are not valuing the time and efforts of others. Let’s utilize meetings to be concise and effective, not wasteful bunches of time sprinkled throughout a workweek.


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