Meeting About Meetings
Edition: December 2001 - Vol 9 Number 12
According to a study from the NetFuture Institute, a US-based research firm focusing on the future of E-business and business in general, 70% of key business people spend more than a fifth of their time in scheduled meetings, and about half of the respondents find that a majority of the meetings are productive. These results, suggest that meetings play an important role in developing strategy, addressing issues, and aligning companies and departments - but that many meetings suffer from a variety of shortcomings that substantially decrease productivity.
The study found that 36.0% of executives report that scheduled meetings take up more than 40% of their workweek, and about 12.6% report that meetings take up more than 60% of their workweek. About 64% of respondents spend less time in scheduled meetings: 32.6% report that they spend 21% to 40% of their week in meetings, and 30.6% spend 1 to 20% of their time in meetings.
As for meeting productivity, only 6.6% of respondents find that all of their meetings are productive. 12.6% find that 81% to 99% of their meetings are productive, and 20.9% maintain that 61% to 80% of their meetings are productive. About 60% of respondents find that 60% or less of meetings are productive: 25.4% claim that 41% to 60% of their meetings are productive, 19.4% say that 21% to 40% are productive, and 14.0% say that 1% to 20% of their meetings are productive.
In general, senior executives find meetings to be slightly more productive than managers, respondents from larger companies tend to have more meetings than those from smaller companies, and respondents from larger companies tend to find meetings less productive than respondents from smaller companies.
Many respondents cite the need for three things in order to have productive meetings: first, an official agenda in order to keep meetings on schedule and on task; second, punctuality and preparation on the parts of attendees; and third, evaluation of whether or not a meeting is necessary in the first place - that is, whether the issue at hand could be more easily handled by a few simple phone calls.