Meetings don’t work.
Or, at the very least, most team meetings are time-wasting, productivity-killing, creativity-stifling products of wishful or delusional thinking.
Before the pandemic and its mass movement to remote and hybrid work, meetings were already problematic.
We’ve all seen how meetings fail.
Most meetings in the office stem from a policy of holding regular – often weekly – staff “update” meetings. Or they are the result of procrastination. We can’t decide right now, so let’s schedule a meeting. Or some new initiative, problem or idea prompts action, and scheduling a meeting feels like action.
As soon as the meeting begins, eyes glaze over, and some meeting participants begin to mentally tune out the conversation while pretending to pay attention. (Others don’t even pretend; it’s becoming more normal or it is acceptable to stay glued to a laptop or phone screen during a meeting.
Meetings are often dominated by attention seekers, ladder climbers, extroverts and long-winded talkers. In contrast, others remain mostly silent and there is little correlation between saying and having something.
And employees hate them.
Many employees see meetings not as work but as a break from work — a time to socialize. “Meetings are indispensable when you don’t want to do anything,” economist John Kenneth Galbraith once said.
The solution? Take control of your meetings, experts tell us.
You have heard the advice of the meeting.
Start on time and lock out late participants. Make an agenda of no more than three items and stick to it. State the objectives of the meeting at the beginning. Put down the ship-wind and press the silent to speak. Ban on phones and laptops. Do not allow non-meeting related tasks during the meeting.
Finally, end the meeting on time even if the plan is not complete.
In other words, meetings are a colossal waste of time unless you take drastic measures to forcefully shoehorn your employees’ minds, bodies, and thoughts into a rigid, artificial, rule-based system.
Such regular meetings were rare but possible. And then the Zoom meeting revolution of remote work happened. Video conferencing has eliminated the ability to enforce some of the old meeting best practice mandates.
So instead of banning devices with screens, they are now required.
Meeting participants may be listening or the meeting may be “muted”. Maybe they’re paying attention, or maybe they’re playing poker online.
But, perhaps the most likely mental activity during Zoom calls is staring at yourself and stressed out over appearanceaccording to research.
Due to the worsening of meeting situations, flexible work schedules and the globalization of the workforce, it is now practical to have everyone in the same meeting at the same time.
Meetings are like television – they required real-time participation, or you missed it; now, everyone sticks to their own schedule.
However we continue to have many meetings out of habit and delusional thinking.
That’s why it’s time to replace most meetings with new norms and technologies that provide the benefits of frictionless meetings.
It’s time to consider integrated communication solutions within your organization that make sense and minimize internal communication friction. For example, replace video meetings with asynchronous video and other media.
Making new norms is hard.
But, in general, asynchronous solutions can be adopted with good research and integration with other tools (like scheduling, project collaboration, and more).
Meetings are generally acknowledged to be a waste of time and money and a source of real employee dissatisfaction.
I’ll say it again: Meetings don’t work anymore.
Asynchronous internal communication tools. So it’s time to cancel your meetings, clear your calendar and embrace the new technology available.
And you certainly don’t need to set up a meeting to make a decision.
Copyright © 2022 IDG Communications, Inc.
Why meetings don’t work anymore
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