Meetings: Those Maddeningly Mundane Time-Suckers

By Dana Wilkie Oct 6, 2015
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What’s the best way to run a meeting?

Dr. Nadine Katz goes to a lot of meetings. Some of them last so long the participants have to order in food or switch rooms. She decided she’d try to figure out how to make those endless meetings more efficient. Her No. 1 recommendation: Prepare, prepare and prepare some more.
(Forbes)

Fewer meetings can boost employee productivity.

Your morning meeting wraps at 10 a.m., just in time for the budget review with department directors, followed by the luncheon to discuss clients, the 2 p.m. with editorial and the 4 p.m. on new hires. Around quitting time, you’re just turning to the day’s e-mails. Meetings: those time-sucking, maddeningly mundane interruptions that seem to prevent you from getting real work done. Are all of them really necessary?
(SHRM Online)

And what if all company meetings were voluntary?

A decade ago, Eric Lindblad—vice president and general manager of Boeing’s 747 program—multiplied the number of people who attended his meetings by their average hourly rate and concluded that meetings were a pretty costly way to communicate. So he made meetings entirely voluntary; workers could even leave meetings if they felt the gatherings weren’t valuable—with no repercussions.
(SHRM Online)

Ever consider an ‘enchanted forest’ meeting room?

At Google’s offices in Chicago, swinging benches, the kind you see on porches, are suspended from the ceilings, painted bright primary colors and positioned around the two-story workspace. The Ferris Bueller’s Day Off Room is adorned with posters of a young Matthew Broderick in his signature pose—reclining with hands behind head. And at Google’s Café 312, employees work on laptops while enjoying cushiony seats and a coffee-shop atmosphere. Here it’s evidently “out” with the conventional conference table shoved inside four walls.
(SHRM Online)

Dana Wilkie is an online editor/manager for SHRM.

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