Something I love to share with people is my crusade for fewer, better meetings. I truly believe that meetings are like amoebas–they’ll take up as much space as you give them.
Of course, meetings are necessary, and they can be vessels for positive change in an organization. Still, valuable time and energy is wasted in meetings that are inefficient and uninspiring. At roux, we even like to call them sessions, because the word ‘meeting’ can initiate a paralyzing, negative reaction from people.
Statistics show that 11 million meetings are held every day, in the United States alone. The average office worker spends 62 hours per month sitting in meetings, and unfortunately, 37 percent of these are considered unproductive.
How can we work toward changing this unhealthy trend?
Today’s leaders need to make a stronger effort to understand human behavior and psychology. Understanding the tactics that keep people engaged is key to a successful meeting.
Still, no matter how engaging you make your meetings, if they take too much time, you’re in trouble. Scientific research shows that the average person can only pay attention to something for 10 to 18 minutes before losing focus. If run efficiently, a meeting will only take as much time, space, and energy as you allow it to, and your attendees will remain engaged.
Could you streamline your meeting agendas to make them more efficient? Can you eliminate any of the meetings on your schedule right now? Your first step might be taking stock of how many meetings your organization is truly generating.
The free tool, Meeting Stats, connects to your work calendar and generates a report that tells you how many hours you spent in meetings this year, how much money those meetings are costing you, and what percentage of your time is spent on meetings. The data updates weekly, and it also offers interesting stats on meeting attendance, how long your meetings run, and when most of your meetings are held.
Whether you need to better analyze how your time is being spent or find a way to make the most of the meetings you do host, it’s a never-ending journey. We’re never going to be perfect, but we aim to get better every day.
We’d love to hear your take on efficient meetings. Sound off in the comments below, and make sure to keep your eye out for new posts in the kitchen.