The Surprising Science Of Meetings – Steven G. Rogelberg Book Summary

The Surprising Science Of Meetings – Steven G. Rogelberg | Free Book Summary

The Surprising Science Of Meetings – Steven G. Rogelberg

Many managers view ineffective, fruitless, or boring meetings as an inevitable flaw in the way business is conducted. By offering suggestions for better meeting facilitation, the author challenges this presumption and shows how to stop wasting time and energy.

The signals of meeting effectiveness

When evaluating the effectiveness of your meeting, look for the following indicators:

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  • Are participants using their phones or other devices to multitask?
  • Are some participants constantly speaking, while others are silent?
  • Are you, as the leader, dominating the meeting?

Servant Leadership

Embrace the idea of “servant leadership” and the notion that you should be a “giver” who actively helps others and spreads knowledge without expecting anything in return. Businesses that have strong cultures of giving and servant leadership outperform others in all business metrics.

Craft the meeting agenda

Simply having an agenda won’t make meetings more productive. Instead, be deliberate when creating the agenda for the meeting, tailoring it to the needs of the team, and approaching team members to ask them to add their agenda items beforehand. As a general rule, you should put as much thought into your preparation for an internal meeting as you would for one with a client.

A specific or odd number of minutes

The time you set aside for a meeting will be consumed. A meeting that is scheduled for 60 minutes will last 60 minutes. 

To determine the best length for a meeting, consider your objectives, agenda items, and number of participants. To make meetings more effective, reduce that estimate by 5% to 10%. Free book, podcast summaries

Invite fewer participants

According to research, seven participants per meeting are optimal.

The effectiveness of decision-making decreases by about 10% for every additional participant above seven. This decrease can be attributed to logistics, coordination, and social issues.

Revisit your meeting objectives and determine who among your potential attendees is absolutely necessary to achieving those objectives.

Prioritizing the discussion points

Important topics for discussion should be near the top of your agenda. The same is true for items created by participants. Increase accountability by allocating agenda items to participant-owners in advance. Present the most important and demanding items first. 

 These topics typically necessitate a more intensive exchange and alignment period. It’s best if you start them no later than 10% to 15% into the meeting time.

Avoid the negative

Meetings that are infused with humor and laughter result in more supportive team members, more constructive group dynamics, and improved team performance. 

Negative comments cause “mood contagion,” which reduces performance. Attending the emotions in your meetings is an important part of meeting leadership.

As participants enter the room, greet them, offer refreshments or snacks, and play an upbeat song. Discourage multitasking.

Don’t let people get too comfortable

Change the seating arrangement: Request that participants sit in a different seat, alter the table layout, or relocate to a different location.

Conduct a “walking meeting” by taking the agenda and participants outside or on a walk through your building.

Hold your meeting standing: Participants in standing meetings benefit from the health benefits of this shorter meeting format as well as its efficiency.

Idea generating technique

“Brainwriting” – Request that meeting attendees remain silent and jot down their ideas before sharing them with others. This will generate original ideas while avoiding “groupthink.”

“Silent reading” – Instead of having someone present the idea, assign 10 to 30 minutes of silent reading for a new proposal and conceptual piece. This is what Amazon employees do.

This ensures that participants evaluate a proposal on its merits rather than the presenter’s eloquence.

How to handle audio-only meetings

Because audio-only meetings can be difficult to lead, pay close attention to your format. The lack of social controls tempts participants to perform other tasks or engage in distractions while on the call, significantly reducing meeting efficiency.

To address these shortcomings, eliminate the mute button in audio-only meetings and actively address participants by name.

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