We need to take better care of our meetings
A simple challenge that will fundamentally change the way you experience your daily work.
In the US alone, the cost of meetings has been estimated to USD 1.4 trillion or 8.2 percent of US GDP in 2014. 55 million meetings are taking place every day. In other words, organizations are making massive investments into an activity with, as we wrote in our previous blog post, very little insights into the outcome of the activity. These numbers reflect pre-pandemic conditions. Since the start of the pandemic, reports indicate that we are having more meetings with more participants.
“I would hazard to say that there is no single investment that organizations treat so carelessly, with so little evaluation or drive to improve, than meetings.”
Steven G. Rogelberg, Chancellor's Professor and author of The Surprising Science of Meetings
Meetings are not redundant
We’re not arguing, as some people are, that meetings should be eliminated. Good meetings hold an organization together, cultivate its culture, create team spirit, spread valuable information, and foster creativity and innovation. Great meetings inspire people to do great things. Unfortunately, research indicates that most meetings are not considered to be time well spent. In fact, “too many meetings” is the top time-waster in the office, according to a survey conducted by Salary.com.
So how should we understand the facts that we have more meetings than ever, and we know that they often don’t contribute to individual and organizational goals but still we continue to invest trillions of dollars in them?
A challenge for you
As food for thought, let’s compare an hour you spend in a work meeting with an hour you spend exercising.
For the work meeting, you’ll likely show up a couple of minutes late and unprepared. Once you’re on the call, you’ll spend most of the time on mute multitasking since you have an upcoming deadline. Also, there was no clear purpose and agenda provided for the meeting, so you didn’t really know if you needed to be there in the first place. After the meeting, you’ll slack one of your colleagues to joke about how bad the meeting was, but you won’t send any constructive feedback to the organizer so that he/she can improve. In summary, you didn’t really want to be there which affected your motivation which affected your performance which affected the outcome of the meeting.
For the hour you spend exercising, you show up 10 minutes early with the latest trainers on your feet. Maybe you’ve even invested in wearable tech so that you can get insights into your performance and understand how you can improve over time. You put your phone away to avoid distractions during the workout and you give it your best. Sometimes you struggle and finish early. But hey, “A” for effort.
We know, there are several objections one could make to this simplified comparison. For example, the meeting is a team activity, the hour of exercise doesn’t have to be. Exercise is something many of us enjoy, meetings are not. Nonetheless, both examples make up an hour of your life. One drains you of energy, the other fills you with it. Starting tomorrow, we challenge you to treat meetings the same way you would treat an hour of exercise. It all starts with each and every one of us making an effort. With a little help from Allting of course. Sign up for our waitlist here.