How millennial leaders are revolutionizing business meetings

Meetings are seen as essential components of every business today. All business’s today consider meetings as something which is needed to get things moving. Higher level meetings are set up to decide the future course of the company. Lower level meetings are set up to give out important information or delegate work. While these may sound like good purposes to hold a meeting, the way it turns out most of the time is not.

Being part of a bad meeting — ones which turned out to be utterly unproductive and waste of time, is a terrible experience. It is even more terrible when one knows that there exists meetings which are of quality and high productivity. How can we solve this?

In his book “ Death by Meeting” by Patrick Lencioni gave some interesting insights into making meetings more effective :-

  • Meetings lesser than 15 min have 50% more chances to be effective.
  • The longer the slide deck, lesser the chances that attention is being paid to it. Even if the slides are forwarded they have lesser chances of being caught up with. (Slides with above 30 slides can be forgotten about)

What else makes it the worst business ritual ever.

- Meetings have too many people

One of the worst things about meetings. Too many people are involved in it most of the times. It is understandable that employees may feel left out if they are not called in for a meeting. It is always productive to call people who are relevant according to the agenda of the meeting.

- Meetings aren't work period

It is naive to consider meetings as work. Meetings are for deciding what to work on, or simply debating about how work should be done. Usually the agenda of a meeting is to solve a problem . Merely talking about a problem dosen’t solve it. What happends at the end of it often is confusion and complication. If there is no solution, it all goes back to square one.

- Meetings are pure distractions

The heads who often call for meetings forget that their employees might be in between of handling complicated work which has to drop in for the meeting. This in between calls will take them off their game. The employee goes from being ultra focused and productive to sitting in a meeting which fails to bring out anything of them as their is still hung up on their work. Sometimes employees come in knowing that there is a meeting scheduled soon, so they don’t pick up any tough work to tackle and kept it for after the meeting. Everyone is taught that taking up on the toughest work in hand will push you forward for the rest of the day, and they won’t do it because of situations like this.

- Meetings multiply the time that is wasted.

Let us take a scenario here to get the gist of this.

A meeting is called between the top partners of a firm (ten of them).
All of them earn $120,000 a year, putting their monthly salaries at $10000. 
Let’s consider that in a month there will be 22 working days, with a fixed 8 hour work day.
That puts their daily earnings at $454 and hourly earnings at $57.
The average number of meetings that happens in US in 31 meetings. And the most common meetings ranges from 31–60 min.
Lets put both of these into perspective.
If the 10 partners who earn $57 an hour, takes one hour meetings 31 times a month, the cost of these meetings on a monthly basis are — $17,670

The numbers that I have taken up here are very minimal. Partners in US firms earn much more than this and the money wasted on unproductive meetings are much more. It is often forgotten that meetings should be multiplied by the number of employees participating in them.

Percentage of meetings according to their duration in the US.

- The time cost of meetings

Over 3 billion meetings takes place in the US every year. With an average of 11 million meetings everyday, 55 million a week and 220 million a month, the number is growing everyday. 30% of all these meetings are considered as unproductive. The cost of all of this lost productivity adds upto $37 billion dollars a year.

Meetings not only have a harrowing effect on the productivity of employees but also the profitability of the firm. Meetings cannot all together be thrown out, but the way it is done can surely be changed. It is shocking to learn that the millennial startup leaders are the one changing this time worn convention.

How are millennials changing it?

It is said that if you want to learn how to make the most of your time learn it from the millennials, they understand the value of time.

In a shocking survey, 47% of the workforce found meetings as boring, unproductive and waste of time. But understanding the “Why” of this attitude is important.

Almost all of the findings as to why meetings are unproductive point to 2 main things-

  • No agenda for the meeting.
  • Inaccurate communication about what the meeting is about.

Before the start of any meeting it is important to set up ground rules. Ground rules should be as minimal and simple as possible like “No cutting through when another person is giving out an idea” or “Write down all your ideas after you speak”.

Why are millennials acing it?

If there are any generation that understands the value of time it is the millennials. This is simply because there are so many things to do in a very limited amount of time. From travelling all over the world, to getting the best experiences in life, to juggling many relationships and careers, they have got a lot on their plate. So it is understandable why they are against the idea of having time wasted over unproductive meetings.

1. Clarity in action

Millennials promote clarity and transparency throughout their firms. This in turn builds trust and encourages the employees to speak up. This may seem unrelated but meetings often do not take off because nobody is ready to take the lead. When employees have the freedom, trust and confidence, they are not reluctant to take the lead and start off meetings. One confident person is enough to bring the whole room up.

2. Forward always

Goldman Sachs Chief Information Officer R. Martin Chavez gave one of the best advices that we will always adhere by.

“Do not catch up in the spot volatility - what’s happening in every second. Just keep an eye out for what might happen in the future. That forward point hardly moves. And if you do that, you will calm down and be more peaceful.
If you chill out, you’ll be much happier and more effective in your career.”

This is not only his view. All of the millennial leaders follow this.

They look into the future, and try to solve the problems that might come in the future rather than solving problems of the present. You don’t see them calling meetings to discuss problems that they face in the present, they have modern day apps to solve all of this. Half of the meetings are being avoided there itself. Meetings are mainly held for brainstorming about the future.

3. No more round table meetings

Millennials do not hold meetings over round tables and in the office anymore. To make it fun and productive (rather than boring and unproductive) meetings are held at baseball games, basketball courts, over board games etc.

Through these methods the employees are able to relax a little bit more and get out their ideas out easily.

Conclusion

Millennials are not only changing the way meetings are being conducted but they are changing everything that is being seen as conventional. Keep a track of how they are changing the world on our publication. Also keep a track of how we are building products that change conventionality forever.

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