Thursday, February 5, 2015

How to Stop Hating Meetings

Think you attend a lot of meetings?
Let’s do the math and see if that’s true:
  • There are an estimated 25 million meetings in America on a daily basis.
  • If you live to the average U.S. life expectancy of 78.6 years, then you will have spent two years of your life sitting in work meetings. (The average person also swears two million times in a lifetime, although it’s not clear how much of that is related to sitting in meetings.)
So, data has proven what we’ve all known for a long time: We spend too much time in meetings. They are time-sucks that often accomplish little and force us to spend our personal time catching up on the work we should have been doing while sitting in a meeting.
Is there a way to salvage the work meeting?
Paul Axtell, author of “Meetings Matter: 8 Powerful Strategies for Remarkable Conversations,” says meetings are important, but we’ve lost sight of how to ensure they are productive.
For example, 92% of information workers fess up to multitasking during meetings, even though it has been shown that there is a 40% drop in productivity when you multitask and a 50% spike in errors.
That’s why he advises to “leave your technology at the door,” and “keep only what you need for the meeting in front of you.”
You may argue, of course, that the reason you use your smartphone to check your email (and Facebook and Pinterest) during meetings is because of other people. Other people make the meetings run too long. Other people don’t stay on topic. Other people aren’t focused.
Buy Axtell advises that one of the keys to more productive meetings is that everyone needs to take more personal responsibility for meetings going wrong. In other words, it may not always be other people. It may be…
Here are some ways you can take personal responsibility for making meetings more effective, Axtell says:
  • Be patient. Don’t jump in the minute someone pauses in a conversation. By remaining attentive, you’re more likely to hear important information and won’t alienate the speaker.
  • Be nonjudgmental. “Remind yourself that the other person’s (read the rest here)

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