On the Misery of Meetings

A Google search has just taught me that

  • tons of people hate meetings
  • they all–and I mean all, like, including Ivanka Trump–have advice about how to make them better.

The most irritating advice I found is “make meetings fun!” I don’t want to put words in your mouth, so I’ll only speak for myself: my problem with meetings is not that they aren’t fun (I’m not a kid–everything I do doesn’t need to be maximally entertaining)–it’s that they often feel pointless and like they could have been done over email.

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: NEVER USE THIS WORD. IT’S NOT A WORD. LDB ] in the middle of a meeting wastes precious communication time.

But aren’t those two things in direct opposition to one another? And anyway, I don’t feel like I need to watch someone else brainstorm. Plus, if someone comes up with a “solution” I think isn’t good, it might sound rude to say it to their face; whereas, over email, I’d have some room to craft a more polite response saying I don’t like the idea.

Here’s the best advice I found: this guy saying, however long you planned for your meeting to be, cut that in half. That seems interesting, and worth a try.

Here’s another interested idea, from an article by Gretchen Rubin that offers otherwise well-recycled tips:

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.


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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