Psychological science can make your meetings better

ScienceDaily | 11/9/2018 | Staff
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Meetings are a near-ubiquitous aspect of today's professional workplace and there is abundant trade wisdom and written guidance about how meetings should be run. But, as researchers Joseph Mroz and Joseph Allen (University of Nebraska Omaha) and Dana Verhoeven and Marissa Shuffler (Clemson University) point out, very little of this guidance is informed by the available science.

"Meetings are generally bad, but meeting science shows us there are concrete ways we can improve them," says Allen. "Leaders can be more organized, start on time, and encourage a safe sharing environment. Attendees can come prepared, be on time, and participate."

Science - Shows - Circumstances - Meetings - Place

Science shows that, under the right circumstances, meetings can provide a place for creative thinking, problem solving, discussion, and idea generation. And yet, a large body of employee research suggests that most meetings are inefficient despite the organizational resources devoted to them, including time, wages, mental resources, and technology.

Improving meetings isn't a trivial matter. According to the researchers' findings, employees average 6 hours per week in meetings, and managers spend an average of 23 hours in them. Studies suggest that employees' attitudes toward meetings can influence their overall attitudes toward work and their well-being.

Report - Mroz - Allen - Verhoeven - Shuffler

In their report, Mroz, Allen, Verhoeven, and Shuffler highlight the ingredients of good meetings, including how people can prepare for meeting success, how certain aspects of meetings can make or break them, and how what happens after a meeting can improve team outcomes.

Assess current needs: Meetings should involve problem solving, decision making, or substantive discussion. They should not be held to share routine or non-urgent information.

Circulate - Agenda - Agenda - Meeting - Priorities

Circulate an agenda: Having an agenda makes the meeting priorities clear to all stakeholders and allows attendees to prepare beforehand.

Invite the right people: Leaders should ask what the goal of the meeting is and whose...
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