The Science of meetings: How to survive them

Most of us have participated in meetings almost every day – sometimes multiple times a day.

And many of us have been in unnecessary meetings where we felt nothing was getting done. The cost [to company] of an inefficient meeting is immense.

So what’s the science behind a meeting? How can we make meetings more productive and minimise the amount of time wasted? Is there a “type” of meeting we need to implement?

Elaine Haman is the founder and owner of The Time Clinic, a company that specialises in time management training.

Meetings are often dominated by one personality and that is why meetings are not really productive.

Elaine Harman, The Time Clinic

meetings are often too long and people lose their ability to concentrate.

One of the guilty parties is the meeting leader or chair. So if we can train and educate our chair people to better manage meetings, we can achieve a lot more...problems are to do with a weak chair.

Elaine Harman, The Time Clinic

The agenda is key to a well structured meeting that sticks to time. How the agenda is compiled is crucial.

The agenda must have time frames allocated and the chair must stick to those time frames.

Elaine Harman, The Time Clinic

One of the big problems with meetings is group thinking. You immediately suss out how often is this group going to get together. is it going to meet on a regular basis?...and then you decide if you should rock the boat or not

Elaine Harman, The Time Clinic

Harman says if groups meet regularly, it is unlikely that members are going to speak out.

Groups that meet regularly are effected by 'group think', which often means keeping the peace and not speaking out.

Elaine Harman, The Time Clinic

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