Are You Practicing Mindful Meeting Management?

BY Kathy Crosett
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Most employees want to stay informed about what’s happening with their jobs and their employer. Being informed contributes to higher productivity. But there’s a limit to how much information team members need. Managers must determine what to share with team members and the best way to share it. All too often, managers use meetings for this purpose. But meetings shouldn’t be the go-​to format for information sharing. Here’s why.

Your team members want to work productively but that’s not easy. Korn Ferry surveyed nearly 2,000 professionals and uncovered a grim fact. About half of employees say that only about 30% of their workday is productive. Managers who read this statistic should hear alarm bells going off. This poor level of productivity spells doom for the bottom line.

The Details

Employees have a good sense for when they’re being productive. Most folks, 87%, know they need regular breaks during the workday. Doing so helps them return to the task feeling energized and refreshed.

So, what’s the problem? The real productivity killer turns out to be meetings. Professionals say the following about meetings: 

  • Too much meeting time somewhat or greatly distracts them from making an impact at work: 67%
  • Even when a meeting or call won’t be productive, they’ll attend: 35%
  • They spend 1–2 hours a week in unproductive calls: 34%
  • They spend 3–5 hours a week in unproductive calls: 34% 

The Key to Productivity

Are there specific ways to improve productivity? Yes, and your team members know all about them. Just over 2/​3 of survey takers say they can significantly increase their impact at work by having a one-​to-​one conversation with a co-​worker. During these conversations, they probably discover an issue, seek out the individual with the authority and willingness to address the issue, and jointly agree on the best way to take care of it.

Korn Ferry Senior Client Partner Cathi Rittelmann says, “Meetings aren’t necessarily bad, but the way we prep and lead them can sometimes derail productivity. The bottom line is this: clear objectives, an agenda and identified roles never go out of style.”

Before you call another meeting, think about whether you can communicate information through your office chat system or through email. When a meeting is necessary, don’t let productivity suffer. Send out an agenda in advance, agree on what the problem is and on the process you’ll use to find a solution. Finally, only invite individuals who can add value to the discussion.