“One Kind of Meeting You Should Never Have”

June 28, 2014

Good article by Geoffrey James on the Inc.com site about how update or status meetings waste valuable time.

Many workplaces have frequent meetings where everyone on a team gets together (either physically or virtually) to give oral status reports of their respective projects.

These “update meetings” (aka “staff meetings”) are supposedly useful because they encourage “better communication.” I beg to differ.

As I see it, communication should take place only if it’s necessary to coordinate the activities of team members. If that need does not exist, “better communication” is only creating distractions. . .

Let’s imagine you’re on a team of 10 people. If everyone in an update meeting gives a 15-minute update, you’ve consumed 150 minutes per person for a total of 1500 person-minutes (i.e., a 2.5-hour meeting with 10 people in attendance).

By contrast, if everyone spends 15 minutes writing a summary, you consume 150 minutes in writing time but, because most people can read (or skim) 10 times faster than they can listen, you’re adding only 15 minutes per person (i.e., 1.5 X 10) for a total reading time of 150 person-minutes. The grand total is therefore 300 person-minutes.

Thus, writing summaries is five times more efficient than an update meeting.

Something to thinks about! Read the entire article, click here, for a bit more information. It may cause you to rethink those status / update type meetings that bore most of us to tears!

BG