Improving Staff Meetings

By Susan Tinnish Business Strategist, Independent Consultant | December 27, 2015

Most of us spend a significant amount of time in business meetings. Ideally, meetings increase the effectiveness of decision-making, respond to problems, foster innovation and create a smoother running, more profitable business. The everyday, mundane business meeting is important for three reasons.

First - Regular meetings influence the organization’s performance and culture. “Regular meetings always display, affirm and exercise the organization’s values, structures and roles – so they are also the primary means by which the organization perpetuates its culture,” states William Daniels in his book, Group Power II: A Manager's Guide to Conducting Regular Meetings (1990).

Second - Poorly-managed meetings waste time. The Wharton Center for Applied Research published the following findings in the Wall Street Journal:
• Senior executives average of 23 hours a week in meetings.
• Middle managers spend 11 hours in meetings per week.
• Senior and middle managers said only 56% of meetings were productive. They commented that phone calls or memos could have replaced over 25% of the meetings they attend.

• In a survey reported in Industry Week, 2000 managers claimed at least 30 percent of their time spent in meetings was a waste of time. According to a 3M Meeting Network survey of executives, 25-50 percent of the time people spend in meetings is wasted.

According to a survey by Office Team, a division of Robert Half International, 45 percent of senior executives surveyed said that their employees would be more productive if their firms banned meetings for a least one-day a week (Williams, 2012).

Third - Ineffective meetings are a source of negative energy. Poorly managed meetings wear on the heart and soul of employees. Business communication impacts the motivation of employees. A highly communicative and collaborative work environment promotes employee productivity, creativity and inspiration. Poor business communications demoralize employees leading to confusion (Writing, n.d.).

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