If you’re rolling your eyes at the thought of yet another pointless, endless work meeting, science has your back.
Researchers at the University of Malmo in Sweden say meetings are more like “therapy sessions” than actually productive.
Professor Patrik Hall actually wrote a book on the subject, and noted that meetings aren’t useless if used effectively — but they all too frequently are not.
“Few decisions are actually made” in such gatherings, Hall notes. And because managers’ jobs usually remove themselves from the day-to-day workflow of a given industry, their day defaults to …having more meetings.
Some jobs, like those of strategists and consultants, hinge on having meetings. However, the same gatherings can frustrate those whose jobs do not.
“Departmental meetings [are] an example of a meeting that many feel is pointless,” Hall says. “Why are we sitting here?”
He explains, “Here, the meeting is intended to remind employees that they belong to an organization.”
However, when meetings included “equality” — that is, “colleagues at the same level” they can be more effective. “They can be an opportunity to complain and be acknowledged by colleagues, which is a kind of therapy.”
By contrast, “Meetings with individuals at higher levels in the organization instead arouse feelings of meaninglessness. There is always a subtle power struggle against the leadership of the organization.”
And one more tip, Hall suggests: keep meeting parameters loose. Book the conference room for 2 hours, and you’ll find that meeting will eat up two hours, even if the subject matter doesn’t merit it.