Meetings are unavoidable in the workplace, but they can be a slow death in many cases. Long meetings, and too many meetings, can especially exhaust people and lead to work dissatisfaction. In an article for TechRepublic, Mary Shacklett reports that the most common complaints about meetings surround no decisions being made, meetings being disorganized, or meetings dominated by certain individuals. In order to improve the quality of meetings, Shacklett shares the idea of “the 30-minute meeting” and some tips:
- Ensure beforehand that all meetings are planned and purposeful.
- Acknowledge meeting fatigue.
- Take brief mental breaks for longer meetings.
Be Ahead of the Game
If you want your employees to leave meetings with a feeling of accomplishment and productivity, you should have an agenda distributed in advance with a list of expected tasks and specific employees who will present. It is equally important to realize that meeting fatigue is common, and if possible, abolish meetings over 30 minutes. If you have to plan longer meetings—let’s say, 60-minute to 90-minute meetings—allow for breaks. Let participants stretch their legs, have a drink, catch up with emails or phone calls, and clear their minds.
Brief mental breaks from long meetings have been proved to benefit employees:
In 2011, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign conducted a study that showed that brief mental breaks from long tasks (like meetings) improves performance. The leader of the study, psychology professor Alejandro Lleras, called the phenomenon of mental exhaustion and losing focus during long and uninterrupted tasks “vigilance decrement.”
“We propose that deactivating and reactivating your goals allows you to stay focused,” he said. “From a practical standpoint, our research suggests that, when faced with long tasks (such as studying before a final exam or doing your taxes), it is best to impose brief breaks on yourself. Brief mental breaks will actually help you stay focused on your task!”
With that being said, an effective and organized meeting will result in more productivity, better employee satisfaction, and time and cost reduction to discuss and solve problems. Planning meetings could be as simple as planning strategies for a fight—if you know your goal and how to get it, you are likely to win the game.
You can view the original article here: http://www.techrepublic.com/article/the-30-minute-meeting-why-shorter-meetings-can-be-more-productive/