Most of the times, participants are multitasking during meetings, checking their emails always trying to reach inbox zero or even doing other, unrelated work. According to a Harvard Business Review survey of 182 senior managers in a range of industries

  • 71% said meetings are unproductive and inefficient
  • 65% said meetings keep them from completing their own work
  • 64% said meetings come at the expense of deep thinking
  • 62% said meetings miss opportunities to bring the team closer together

What's the impact of inefficient meetings?

1.Waste of time in:

  1. Preparing about the meeting
  2. Planning the meeting
  3. Determining what should be included
  4. Emailing about the meeting
  5. Kicking of the meeting

2.Waste of money

It is estimated that more than 37$ billion per year is spent on unproductive meetings in the US. According to a Clarizen/Harris Poll survey, employees use an average of 4.6 hours preparing for and 4.5 hours attending status meetings every week. That means every employee uses 9.1 hours of their time on status meetings.

Infographic by Attlasian depicts 6 types of meeting goers through statistics

Are all the meetings ineffective?

On the other hand, a meeting can be an opportunity for employees to share information, foster work relationships or even participate in decision-making. The key is to discover the features of a well-run meeting in order to increase positive outcomes for the organization; employee engagement is the first and foremost. Below are six tips on effective meetings management:

1.Define a meeting objective

Prepare a clear agenda. Every meeting participant should understand why a meeting is being held. In case that an issue that’s not included in the agenda emerges, a separate meeting needs to be held for that issue.

2.Schedule shorter meetings

Meetings should be as short as possible (15-30 minutes). Define start and end time and do not exceed.

3.Set clear expectations

Meeting participants should have roles, with respect to the purpose they are attending, before the meeting starts. For example, are they there to give advice or do they represent a department? In that way they will have time to prepare in advance.

4.Avoid monologues

First of all, it is unprofessional to turn a group conversation into a monologue or a lecture. Secondly, participants should stick on the meeting agenda without verbosity.

5.Stay focused

"Cell phones on the table!": The most effective way to keep the meetings participants focused is to ban technology. Mobile phones are the means for emailing, surfing the web, or just playing around during a meeting.

6.Capture key points and follow up

Many times, participants of the meeting leave with very different interpretations of what was decided. Therefore, debrief what was accomplished within 24 hours after the meeting via email in order to keep everyone “on the same page”.

Meetings are a unique area of study in that they are almost universally used in businesses across the globe 

Allen, Rogelberg, & Scott

What types of meetings are held at your organization?