On the Misery of Meetings

A Google search has just taught me that

  • it’s very common to hate meetings
  • there is plenty of advice, from sources ranging from anonymous bloggers to Ivanka Trump,  on how to make them better.

Some of this advice falls into the category of “make meetings fun!” I do wonder if some of these tactics could increase one of the issues that many of you have noted: the sense of inefficiency that can come with meetings. As some of you noted when we discussed frustrations with group work, when a meeting feels like it could have been done over email, that can seem like a way of disrespecting the time of one’s peers–which can come of as unprofessional.

Here’s an article about how companies like Apple and Google, among others, run meetings. A company called Technically Media suggests:

  • There is no judging in brainstorming. Focus on capturing ideas before filtering and critiquing them.
  • Bring solutions, not problems. Solutioning [<- NOTE FROM DR LUCY: THIS IS NOT A WORD] in the middle of a meeting wastes precious communication time.

In your group, you might not want to devote meeting time to brainstorming.

Here’s the best advice I found: a timing challenge. However long you planned for your meeting to be, cut that in half. Worth a try, at least.

Here’s another interesting idea, from an article by Gretchen Rubin:

“no chairs. In Bob Sutton’s terrific book, The No A**** Rule (printed that way not out of prudery but to avoid spamblockers), he points to a study that showed that people in meetings where everyone stood took 34 percent less time to make an assigned decision, with decisions that were just as good as those made by groups who were sitting down.”

If you’ve made it this far, you get a special bonus article: a rather compelling argument against collaboration (!), from The Economist.

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1 thought on “On the Misery of Meetings”

  1. We actually finished the first assignment only by email, if ignoring the meeting in class. We also didn’t talk much in meeting. I feel it is enough to communicate via emails. However, the idea of cutting the meeting time in half probably worth trying. I personally think the only help meeting provides is to assign the jobs effectively, which may cost less than 5 minutes.

    Liked by 1 person

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