Human Resources News & Insights

INFOGRAPHIC: Why meetings stink — and how to make ’em better

Meetings can be productive, enlightening and even fun. Not buying it? Here’s what new studies say make meetings terrible — and how to make them better.

45% of meetings are useless

First, the bad news: If your managers are looking for a good way to frustrate your top performers, make sure they hold plenty of aimless meetings.

Nothing gets accomplished in 44.8% of meetings, according to a ManageElite study of 948 upper-level execs, directors, middle managers and frontline supervisors.

So what are the things that prevent meetings from being productive?

  • People protecting their turf (44.7%)
  • One or two people dominating the discussion (38.3%)
  • Defensiveness (34.6%)
  • Internal politics (31.7%), and
  • People not being prepared (30.9%).

Even worse …

If employees had their way, it’s no surprise they’d probably want to sit in fewer meetings.

Not only do 37% of staffers say half the time they spend in meetings is wasteful, but 11% said it was the biggest time waster in their jobs.

That’s according to research from TrackVia.

Compared to what many companies think are time-wasters, like social media, eliminating unnecessary meetings may be a worthy enterprise.

Meetings actually hurt your brain

Head hurt after needless, lengthy meetings? That’s because they may make you brain dead.

So says research from Virginia Tech.

If you’re in a meeting with someone you perceive to be smarter than you, it can fire up parts of the brain associated with anxiety and fear.

That, in turn, can get in the way of how you process and express information, making you act stupid, VT scientists found.

So next time someone suggests a brainstorming session, you may want to think again.

What to do instead

We get it: Meetings can be destructive, bad for the workplace and actually damage employees who have to sit through them.

So how can you turn that around?

Check out this new infographic courtesy of Progressive Business Publications on how to make your meetings the best they can be:

Progressive Business Publications Infographic
Brought to you by Progressive Business Publications.

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  • Rory Trotter

    Thanks for the infographic (and the stat), Dan. I’d have guessed from experience that a large number of meetings are useless, and the 45% number affirms that.

    Keep writing (and sharing).