Meetings considered harmful 17 Jan 2006
91 comments Latest by Glen Richardson
Researchers in organisational psychology have confirmed that meetings are, well, evil. A study conducted by the University of Minnesota found that the amount and length of meetings correlate with “negative effects” (burnout, anxiety, and depression) on its participants.
No surprises here. A few reasons why frequent and long meetings are t3h sucK:
- They break your working day into small, incoherent pieces on a schedule incompatible with the natural breaks in your flow
- They are normally all about words and abstract concepts, not real things (like a piece of code or a screen of design)
- They usually contain an abysmal low amount of information conveyed per minute
- They often contain at least one moron that inevitably get his turn to waste everyone’s time with nonsense
- They drift off subject easier than a rear-wheel driven Chicago cab in heavy snow
- They frequently have agendas so vague nobody is really sure what its about
- They require thorough preparation that people rarely do anyway
So don’t do meetings. There’s usually a more appropriate way to convey information or query for participation. One that doesn’t lead to burnout, anxiety, and depression! But if you must have a meeting, keep it short. Like, really short. Half an hour is already stretching it.
Oh, and for the love of god, bring something real to the table for people to fiddle with and spur associations from. They won’t be doing their homework anyway, so provide the easiest way for everyone to come up with something meaningful on the spot.
If its not your call to make, be sure to summarize the result of the meeting and inform the participants of the cost of reaching that result. Was it really worth to spend 2 hours x $100/hour x 5 people = $1,000 whether or not to buy a new printer?