25 Million Meetings Happen Daily, Clearly Something Is Wrong Here

While meetings tend to have a bad rap for being unproductive, tapping into and leveraging new processes and technology can help teams run more effective and engaging meetings.

Recent studies suggest there are 25 million meetings held each day in the U.S. alone and managers are left spending over 75 percent of their time on meeting-related activities – costing businesses $37 billion per year.

Unsurprisingly, “92% of people multitask at meetings, and 49% admit to doing entirely unrelated work. Clearly something is wrong here.”

Over at 37signals they’re convinced meetings are toxic. Here’s a few reasons why:


  • They break your work day into small, incoherent pieces that disrupt your natural workflow 

  • They’re usually about words and abstract concepts, not real things (like a piece of code or some interface design) 

  • They usually convey an abysmally small amount of information per minute 

  • They often contain at least one moron that inevitably gets his turn to waste everyone’s time with nonsense


In fact, “If it were up to 37 Signals, there would be no meetings at all and discussion would be limited to IM and email. In the company’s best-selling book Rework, they urge creatives to remember that ‘every minute you avoid spending in a meeting is a minute you can get real work done instead.'”

Ineffective meetings not only affect company revenues, but also decrease positive job sentiment and the overall perception of the work environment, potentially leading to a high employee turnover rate.

While meetings tend to have a bad rap for being unproductive, tapping into and leveraging new processes and technology can help teams run more effective and engaging meetings.


Get the most out of business meetings

At the heart of the meeting inefficiency dilemma are a few core mistakes that need to be remedied in order to deliver a truly efficient and collaborative meeting.

Epson, a global technology leader dedicated to driving innovations in printing, visual communications, quality of life and manufacturing, asserts that businesses must address the following five most common mistakes of modern meetings to resolve this dilemma in the workplace.


1. Use the right technology solution.

Does your technology connect analog and digital devices in the room? Enter any conference room or huddle space in today’s office and you’ll notice a plethora of analog and digital devices – whiteboards, easel pads and sticky notes on the analog side and projectors, computers and mobile devices on the digital side, to name a few.


Photo: © Monkey Business, YFS Magazine
Photo: © Monkey Business, YFS Magazine

While all are designed to streamline and encourage productive practices, when left disconnected, they actually create a non-collaborative and less user-friendly environment. 

Less is more and the solution should include technology that allows meeting participants to collaborate in real-time.


2. Collaborate with local and remote attendees
 in mind.

The workforce is getting younger as more millennials are hired and baby boomers exit the workforce. As a result, the format of the modern meeting is shifting away from the once one-to-many style to a collaborative style.

This shift has created a high demand for project management and productivity tools that streamline and support this collaboration in the workplace. 

Additionally, just as the age breakdown of the workforce is changing, so are employees’ working preferences and tendencies. Mainly, more and more employees are choosing to work remotely.


Photo: © ArtFamily; YFS Magazine
Photo: © ArtFamily; YFS Magazine

Modern meetings need to adopt collaborative tools to bridge the gap between local and remote workers to enable them to work together in a collaborative manner.


3. Bigger is (almost) always better.

A majority of businesses purchase flat panel displays for their conference rooms and huddle spaces. The rationale is that they are trendy and modern. However, most people don’t understandthe consequences of selecting the wrong display size.

Although flat panel pricing is coming down, the most commonly sold size is still around 50-60” displays. These limited display sizes greatly reduce content visibility during a meeting, thus rendering it highly unengaging and inefficient. Ensure meeting content is not only visible, but also engaging to foster collaboration and participation.


4. Streamline post-meeting activities.

There’s nothing worse than sitting in on what seemed to be an incredibly productive meeting, but no action is taken after the meeting and no improvements to the business are made as a result.

If there is no follow-up, productivity goes down and the entire meeting was a waste of time.

“From Apple to the Toastmasters, the world’s most successful organizations demand that attendees leave meetings with actionable tasks.”


Photo: © gpointstudio, YFS Magazine
Photo: © gpointstudio, YFS Magazine

Streamline meetings and unify practices by using technology that can save and disseminate notes after a meeting or in real-time. Cloud-based tools like After the Meeting cut down on the number of status updates and follow-up meetings you have by organizing all of your action items in a single organized view that all attendees can reference quickly.

Meetin.gs is also a helpful tool with a number of benefits including an app that entralizes meeting information, documents, agenda, and next action points on a single page – participants can access, view, contribute, and join the meeting quickly and effortlessly.


5. Address generational workplace preferences

Last year Millennials surpassed Gen X’ers as the largest generation in the U.S. Labor force, bringing an entirely new set of values and expectations to the workplace.


Photo: © YakobchukOlena, YFS Magazine
Photo: © YakobchukOlena, YFS Magazine

As such, businesses are finding themselves in an interesting predicament where they must maintain the satisfaction of the aging workforce, while simultaneously attracting and acquiring new talent from the up-and-coming millennial group.

One way that businesses can successfully bridge the workplace age gap is through technology — specifically, technology that is collaborative and cutting edge enough to appeal to millennials, yet also maintains elements of familiarity and ease of use of whiteboard-like simple tools to appease the Gen X’ers.


This article has been edited and condensed.

With over 12 years of experience in global product marketing, Remi Del Mar is currently the senior product manager, projects for Epson’s meeting room solutions. With depth and breadth across the entire product development discipline, she has successfully led programs from inception to implementation in multiple countries and across all channels. In her current role, she is responsible for large venue and meeting room projectors targeting corporate, higher-ed, rental and staging and house of worship market segments. Connect with @EpsonAmerica on Twitter.


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