“You can spend all day in meetings, which means you can have days when you get no work done,” she comments. Deadlines remain in place, regardless of the meeting-go-rounds, which means she sometimes has to bring work home to make up for lost time, loading stress onto an already frustrating day. “Meetings are a disliked necessity of life, like taxes,” she adds.
Miriam’s not the only one to feel that way. According to the magazine Inc., and Fuze, an online meeting company, there are 25 million meetings in the US per day — other research puts the number even higher — with organizations spending about 15 percent of employees’ collective time in meetings. The percentage of meeting time goes up for middle managers (35 percent) and senior managers (50 percent).
Yet when Harvard Business Review interviewed 182 senior managers working in a range of industries for a July 2017 article, it found that 71 percent of those managers said meetings were unproductive and inefficient. In addition to causing frustration, the wasted time costs companies big bucks in lost productivity.
Still, no one is deleting their calendar apps and doing a blanket cancel, because there’s a positive side to business meetings. As writer, speaker, and corporate advisor Chris Matyszczyk explains, a meeting might cost the company anywhere from several hundred to several thousand dollars, depending upon who attends, how much each person gets paid, and how long the meeting lasts. But you also need to consider the benefits, he counters, asking, “What if you created a strategy in the meeting that ultimately earned your company millions of dollars? Or you prevented a solvable small problem from mushrooming into a full-blown catastrophe? The time and money spent in the meeting room is well worth the cost.” The task therefore is not to kvetch, but to come up with solutions for making business meetings more productive.
Three Steps to Success
Adam Bryant, author of the Corner Office column for the New York Times, lists three rules for running an effective meeting: 1) Set an agenda 2) Start on time and end on time and 3) End with an action plan.
It sounds easy, so why do so many meetings fail?
“Being unprepared was the biggest mistake I made in the early days,” says Fran Jakubowicz, CEO of SunHouse Marketing, an Israeli-based digital marketing and lead generation agency. “Now I ensure that I’m prepared.”
(Excerpted from Family First, Issue 625)