Meetings may keep employees in the communications loop, but at what cost to efficiency? According to a recent survey of the nation's 1,000 largest companies, executives estimate that they waste 7.8 hours a week almost a full workday on unnecessary meetings. So the Business Journal asks:
Do you spend too much time in meetings?
Richard G. Baumann
Baumann & Rothman
I guess we're fortunate. Aside from time with my clients, which can sometimes go long, I do not spend an inordinate time in meetings. People here in the office might pop in to discuss a question, but it's relatively quick. We used to have partners meetings every week, but we cut it back. Now we only have formal meetings once a month over breakfast for no more than two hours. But I imagine that you might get a different answer if you talked to our administrative partners.
Director of Marketing
I think corporate America is making an effort to compensate for not communicating enough to employees, but the effect can be one of over-communication. We need to think about what's important to talk about and what isn't. Simple things like agendas can help. There needs to be a leader who is comfortable controlling the discussion and bringing people back in to the topic at hand. You need a clear focus of what your goal is and why you are there, because if you end without a conclusion, then that just leads to another meeting.
Well, this week alone I spent about two and a half hours in an entirely unnecessary meeting! Overall I would have to say that for us, it's about 80 percent necessary and 20 percent unnecessary as far as internal meetings go. I work in marketing, so I also spend a lot of time meeting with outside people to develop new contacts. With that, nine times out of 10 it doesn't go anywhere. One of the things that's frustrating about doing business in L.A. is all the travel time you spend going to these meetings. A very good two-hour meeting can easily become a five-hour adventure on the freeways.
Vice President of
A lot of people are already getting nostalgic about this L.A institution and they think they're losing a part of their heritage. I don't necessarily agree with that. I think the Times could benefit from the added resources and maybe beef up the business section, which is a little thin right now. For the reader there probably won't be a big difference. From the corporate standpoint I can see big
I find that the larger the place and the longer the food chain, the more meetings you have. And they're repetitive you go over something at a lower level, then you run it by a departmental boss, and that warrants more meetings. That can be tiresome. At my company we're unusually efficient between client and internal meetings, we have no more than one a day. But we're about 12 people total, so often it's easier to just run over to someone's desk and nail things down on the spot. Time is of the essence in our industry, so in order to stay on top of things, there can't be a lot of hemming and hawing.
Where I am now, the meetings are very productive. That's because people have their ideas and questions in hand before they go in and meetings only happen about once a month, if that. But in the past I had employers who basically held the same meeting week after week. No one wanted to be there and they weren't productive because they just went over the same things. That was management not taking control and knowing what they wanted from the meeting.
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