Weighing the Pros and Cons of Meetings

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As a hallmark of the business world, meetings present an opportunity for team discussion, assignment of various projects, and relationship building. For some, it is an arena in which one can voice opinions, discuss ideas, and plan for the future. While this certainly sounds positive and productive, the reality is not always up to par.

According to The New York Times, many companies simply waste time with unproductive meetings. In fact, according to the Times, the average organization spends 15% of its time hosting meetings, and some estimates claim that “the nation wastes more than $37 billion in ‘unproductive meetings.’” Clearly, the use of meetings has become excessive, leading many to believe that they are beginning to lose their value.


Some workers find that meetings disrupt their work rather than aiding it. Such employees thrive on their own and prefer extra time to focus on the tasks at hand. This is in contrast to those who view meetings as a break from the monotony of solitude.

Keeping this in mind, consider the pros and cons of holding regular meetings:


Pros:

Streamlining:
In order to keep everyone on the same page, many employers prefer to hold meetings in which team assignments are discussed and goals are aligned. Updating various groups about company progress, new goals, and future projects requires constant communication for which meetings are quite useful.

Providing a Voice:
Meetings often allow employees to voice their concerns in a group setting. This allows for problem solving and the bouncing of ideas at the round table. Just as two heads are better than one, a large group is more likely to effectively handle an issue than a single person.

Team Building:
In order to truly build a team, various members must be allowed to communicate. Sitting at one’s desk for eight hours a day might be productive in the short run, but it will lead to lower morale and lower team activity in the long run.

Cons:

Time:
While some troubleshooting requires intensive conversation at the round table, some discussions are drawn out for too long. Companies are wasting productive working hours by providing everyone with an opportunity to chat instead of produce results.

Purpose:
The purpose of individual meetings is often quite vague. While the goal of team meetings might be coordination or discussion, others quickly turn into useless conversation. Before calling a meeting, the purpose and intended results must be firmly identified and explained so that employees keep on task.

Interruption:
For those expending great effort to focus on an assigned task, meetings often interrupt this concentration. Some individuals necessitate long bouts of time in order to keep their focus and accomplish anything; constant meetings require one to refocus his or her attention several times throughout the day. In theory, this interruption might stifle creativity or productivity.

 

While the traditional meaning certainly holds its value in a business setting, the length and frequency of such meetings often impede progress. What is meant as a means of coordination and team building often transform into loose conversation and long, dull hours.

Perhaps the truth is somewhere in the middle: meetings are necessary, but not as often as many organizations would like to think.

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