2 hours 39 minutes: the number of hours workers feel are wasted in meetings during an average week
49 minutes: the number of wasted minutes in meetings not made up for later
10 hours or over: the amount of time one in five senior managers and directors say they spend in meetings per week
11 minutes: the average amount of time it takes for people’s attention to drift in a meeting
Respondents thought that an average of 20 minutes was wasted in every meeting they attended
I read once that the ego of a person calling a meeting dictates the number of
We would all agree that ideally a meeting leaves the participants with more
energy, clarity and enthusiasm for what needs to be done than when they walked
So why then are they so incredibly painful for most companies?
Mostly what happens with meetings is that they take place for no other reason
than they always have.
They are used like a blunt object supposedly to achieve a wide array of
Let's get everyone aligned. We'll have a meeting.
We need to solve this issue, let's have a meeting.
Let's get it all out in the open so we can deal with it, let's have a meeting.
This change affects everyone, we should meet.
Let's plan to meet in three weeks and take it forward.
Should we set up a series of meetings to move this forward?
You have a meeting and let me know the outcome
And a hundred other reasons people call meetings (what are your favourite lame reasons?).
We have become like corporate zombies going through repeated motions because
it has become habit. We have not stopped and thought more strategically about
how to get things done.
To avoid meetings ask yourself or your group the following questions.
What is it we want to achieve?
Why do we want to do this?
Who needs to be involved?
What is the best way of involving these people?
If a meeting has been suggested, are there alternatives other than a meeting that will be effective?
Following this process eliminates most meetings and moves you forward faster.
If you find yourself staring down the face of an unavoidable meeting, here is
a way to ensure that the meeting works better than most.
Take leadership of the meeting even if you are not the person calling it. Work through the above questions to quickly get focused.
Decide how much time is needed (it is seldom an hour as Outlook or Google Calendar suggests by default).
Make sure each person arrives at the meeting with their contribution prepared.
If you need more than 30 minutes then most likely you haven't done 1, 2 and 3 thoroughly enough
Pick a facilitator for the meeting who is not involved in the content. Make it her responsibility to finish on time.
Keep a list of off topic items to be picked up outside of the meeting and don't get pulled down a rabbit hole when they come up.
Jeff Bezos of Amazon starts every meeting with his executives reading six page
memos from each area. His belief, is that the communal reading guarantees
undivided attention and by forcing his execs to write down their memo in
narrative form , they have to think carefully about what they want to say.
This is great practice and will certainly result in more focused and reduced