Like it or not, Meetings matter!
Should Meetings Be Banned?
Efficient meetings are a productivity boost for organizations, but many were unprepared for the recent shift to full remote. This has led to an increase in poor participation and collaboration, causing some to call to ban meetings altogether.
But meetings are essential for communication, cooperation, consensus decision-making, organizational democracy, and as a mechanism for employee voice. Eliminating them would destroy organizations’ ability to come together and accomplish goals as a team.
A recent estimate suggests that employees collectively endure a staggering 55 million a day in the USA and that over $250 billion is wasted each year by having too many bad meetings.
We sat down with Dr. Steven Rogelberg, the world’s leading expert on meeting science, to discuss why meetings matter, why they aren’t as effective as they should be, and how they could be improved. We also examined how meetings have been altered in the global pandemic and some tips for navigating the transition. Dr. Rogelberg is a Chancellor’s Professor at the University of North Carolina and author of the bestseller The Surprising Science of Meetings: How You Can Lead Your Team to Peak Performance. His book was recognized by The Washington Post as the #1 leadership book to watch for in 2019 and by Business Insider as one of the “Top 14 Business Books Everyone Will be Reading in 2019.”
Meetings matter, but how can they be better?
One of the most commonly seen recommendations for a successful meeting is to have an agenda, but Steven’s research indicates they aren’t a predictor of meeting quality and effectiveness. Meeting agendas are very often recycled from meeting to meeting with little reflection and preparation beforehand. He suggests thinking differently about meeting agendas, favoring framing the agenda as a set of questions to be answered. Doing so will require a whole new way of thinking: focusing on what you want to see happen as a result of the meeting.
Asking questions also helps better understand who should be invited because of their relevance to the questions. Questions also let you know when to end your meeting because they have been answered in a compelling way. Framing meeting agendas through questions is a great example of how science can elevate all meeting touchpoints. The Klaxoon Question app helps to accomplish this easily and quickly while also displaying the results in a visually dynamic and intelligent way.
Silent Brainstorming part of the “New Normal”?
The debate over the “new normal” for meetings shifts constantly, but it’s likely that future meetings will be hybridized –– a mix of face-to-face and virtual.
The global pandemic has changed the shape of meetings, and many organizations were unprepared to leverage virtual technologies effectively. The need to stay connected has led to an increase in meeting activity. The lack of casual office encounters has triggered teams to schedule more virtual meetings throughout the workday.
Traditionally, virtual meetings have been viewed as less effective than in-person meetings, but Steven says this opinion results from a lack of understanding.
Virtual meetings can have a very bright future if companies don’t just assume that people are going to be good at it. . . and take advantage of what the technology can offer.Steven Rogelberg, Chancellor’s Professor at the University of North Carolina and author of the bestseller The Surprising Science of Meetings
For example, one benefit of virtual meetings is that it’s more natural to use remote tools such as Klaxoon to facilitate thoughtful silence. Traditionally practices assume the best way to ideate is aloud, but studies show that when groups brainstorm in silence they tend to generate twice as many ideas and those ideas are more creative and innovative.
Typing ideas in silence democratizes the meeting – ideas come from quieter people in the room rather than only the one or two who tend to dominate discussions at each meeting.
(Re)Discover the Surprising Science of Meetings
Most companies and leaders view poor meetings as an inevitable cost of doing business. But research and technology like Klaxoon can be key drivers for successful meetings that ensure teams avoid “Zoom Fatigue” or “Meeting Recovery Syndrome”.
To learn more about Silent Brainstorming, Stand-up Meetings, Parkinson’s Law, and how to be a devil’s advocate in a meeting, we invite you to watch our 30-minute webinar with Dr. Steven Rogelberg and hear insights from 20 years of research.