Did you know…

Most professionals attend a total of 61.8 meetings per month(1) and research indicates that over 50 percent of this meeting time is wasted.(2)

1. A network MCI Conferencing White Paper. Meetings in America: A study of trends, costs and attitudes toward business travel, teleconferencing, and their impact on productivity (Greenwich, CT: INFOCOMM, 1998),

2. Robert B. Nelson and Peter Economy, Better Business Meetings
(Burr Ridge, IL: Irwin Inc, 1995)

Meetings, Meetings, Meetings

In my observations among clients and workshop participants, I would guess that the numbers mentioned above have grown significantly in the last decade. In my GO System workshops, the one thing that I hear over and over again (especially among professionals in the Human Resources and Medical professions) is how to manage their meeting load and still get work done during the day. Sadly, many of you find yourself taking work home – in your meeting free zone. Unfortunately, unless you are willing to change your meeting habits, there is little that I can suggest. However, if you are willing to consider some changes then please read the  Productivity Tip section of this newsletter for ideas that you can implement immediately.

Effective meetings is such a broad topic that my next newsletter will again focus on meetings – including tips and free resources for conducting more effective meetings. Be sure to watch for it!

Productivity Tip
  1. For each meeting request, determine if it is really necessary for you to physically attend. Consider other options such as receiving meeting minutes / status updates via e-mail or sending someone else in your place who can debrief you at a more convenient time.
  2. Don’t schedule more than half of your day in meetings. Schedule the other half of your day with yourself at your office – working! Literally schedule it – put in on your calendar!
  3. If scheduling a half day, everyday for yourself doesn’t work in your environment; consider scheduling half of your work week instead. For example, Mondays and Wednesdays are my office days. I try very hard to guard that time for working – and schedule no meetings on those days.
  4. Encourage your organization to adopt a “Meeting Free Day” – 1 day a week where meetings (internal and external) are forbidden, allowing everyone in the organization to WORK. (Also encourage no inter-office interruptions on that day, as much as possible.) If starting out with a whole day sounds impossible, start with just one morning and then increase it to the whole day or perhaps two mornings in the week. (I highly recommend mornings. I’ve yet to meet someone who said their sharpest time of the day was right after lunch!)

Those may sound like impossible suggestions but as I mentioned previously, unless you are willing to change your meeting habits, there is no real solution for increasing your productivity. At least try one of the above changes for one month and see what happens! And if you do, be sure and keep me posted on the results!

A Thought to Ponder

“Meetings are indispensable when you don’t want to do anything.”
~ John Kenneth Galbraith

(Please note, I looked for positive quotes about meetings and found none!)