Working with a client recently, I observed that their solution to address burned-out leaders was to offer more training in the form of meetings. However, surveys indicate that 83% of meetings on managers’ calendars are unproductive, and meetings are a significant factor in reducing office productivity. It is illogical to solve the problem of unproductive meetings by adding more meetings. Rather, we need to come up with innovative approaches to optimise and streamline meetings, maximise their value, and reduce their negative impact.
To address this issue, organisations need to dispel the following five myths about meetings:
Myth #1: Meetings are the most effective way to get things done. In reality, meetings can often prolong decision-making, leading to a lack of resolution. While meetings can be productive, the assumption that they are always the best place to do meaningful work is false and can negatively impact profitability.
Myth #2: Attendance equals attention. Many leaders believe that in-person meetings ensure everyone is on the same page. However, in virtual meetings, 55% of attendees admit to checking their emails during the call. Attention spans in virtual meetings are usually only 4-6 minutes, unless participants are active speakers.
Myth #3: Information shared equals information remembered. People tend to remember what they say, not just what they hear. To ensure that your audience has understood the information, engage with them and encourage them to participate in the discussion.
Myth #4: Meetings build connection. Meetings can often be draining, whether virtual or in-person, and can destroy company culture. We must learn to hold effective meetings that accelerate decision-making while protecting people’s time.
Myth #5: Being in the room equals influence. The belief that being invited to a meeting is a measure of importance can create a competitive and political environment that damages company culture.
To communicate the message that workers and leaders are valued, we must enable them to focus on their specific job and skills. Rather than always resorting to meetings, we should explore alternative methods of conveying information. When meetings are necessary, we
should follow best practices to ensure they are effective.
Addressing the problem of unproductive meetings and seeking new and diverse communication channels is an essential step in increasing productivity, creativity, and well-being in the workplace.