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How to Get the Most Out of Unproductive Meetings

unproductive meetings

How to Get the Most Out of Unproductive Meetings

There are many benefits to meeting with your coworkers, including improved communication and the ability for teams to discuss problems and issues in the workplace. Unfortunately, many meetings are useless and highly ineffective. In fact, statistics show that more than $37 billion per year is spent on unproductive and inefficient meetings. Worse yet, executives consider 67% of meetings in their workplace a failure.

unproductive meetings

What can you do as an employee to get the most out of these boring and unproductive meetings? Let’s talk about four approaches.

Put your distractions away

Multitasking during meetings is extremely popular, particularly among managers and executives. Unfortunately, most individuals are not very good at multitasking, and their attention is directed to one thing or another. This means that either they pay little attention to the meeting or to the work they are trying to complete. When in the meeting, direct 100% of your attention toward the meeting. Do not bring in your laptop, your mobile device, etc. If you need to take notes, do it the old-fashion way — a piece of paper and a pencil.

Meet all physical and mental needs prior to the meeting

Before you step into the meeting, do a quick evaluation of yourself. Are you hungry, stressed, overwhelmed, etc.? Try to take care of all these emotions prior to the meeting. If you are hungry, eat a quick snack before the meeting begins. If you feel overwhelmed or stressed, what is causing you to feel this way? Do you not feel prepared for the meeting? Are you worried about your current workload? Spend some time determining a plan to fix the problem. Unproductive meetings may not be quite as unproductive as the feel if your head (and body) is in the game!

Be careful who you sit by

Do you have a coworker who is constantly making comments under his or her breath or is causing disruptions throughout the entire meeting? If so, do all you can to avoid sitting by him or her. One of the best places to sit during your team meetings is in the front row. This allows you to make eye contact with the individual presenting, eliminates distractions from coworkers, and makes it easier to pay attention and get more out of the meeting.

Suggest shorter meetings

Unfortunately, many meetings are long — often too long. Studies show that humans have short attention spans. In fact, research found that humans have a shorter attention span than a goldfish. This means that when meetings are long and drawn out, they quickly lose the attention of many of the attendees. By keeping regular meetings short and on-topic, it not only makes the meetings more productive, but employees will not dread them as much. If your meetings tend to be too drawn out, provide feedback to your managers. You may want to include many statistics and facts to support your suggestion.

While some meetings will certainly be more productive and effective than others, by keeping the above tips in mind, you will feel more productive at work and will not dread all those meetings when they arise.