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How to avoid death by meetings

September 10, 2014

According to a Fast Company article written by Camille Sweeney and Josh Gosfield, “A recent U.K. study showed that the average office worker spends around 16 hours in meetings each week. That’s over 800 hours a year. For a grand total over an entire career of—are you sitting down?—37,440 hours of meetings. That’s more than 4 years of your precious time.”

And after interviewing 11 of the world’s most productive people including author, speaker, and Linkage’s Global Institute for Leadership Development (GILD)  faculty member Patrick Lencioni, and the legendary Virgin Group founder and Linkage’s Thought Leader Series presenter Richard Branson, Sweeney and Grosfield provide some valuable insights that can help us all make the most of those 37,440 hours of meetings.

“There are few tried and true strategies for running productive meetings: Be prepared, have a leader, an agenda, a fixed time to start and stop, a conclusion and plan to follow up,” they write. “But if we have to sit around in a windowless conference room for 9,000 hours, can’t we come up with something more…engaging?…

“…Richard Branson, Virgin Group founder, writes about adding novelty to freshen up meetings. He invites thought-provoking speakers in diverse fields from astronomy to nanotechnology to get groups thinking in ‘new, exploratory ways.’ And he holds discussions in innovative spaces. Though you may not possess your own private island like Branson, he suggests that anyone can leave the desks behind and head out to the park, because a ‘change of scenery and a bit of fun does wonders for getting people thinking differently and loosening up!’ (Also see Nilofer Merchant’s story on walking meetings and Jason Yip’s guide to stand-up meetings.)

“…Patrick Lencioni, President of The Table Group, a management consulting firm, and the author of Death by Meeting, believes that the cure for boring and unproductive meetings is to think of them as if you were a movie director. He suggests replacing ‘agendas and decorum with passion and conflict.’ This will engage people and give them something to care about. ‘The good news,’ he says, is that ‘there are plenty of issues at every meeting that have the potential for productive, relevant conflict.’”

Click here to read the full article.

Meetings are necessary, but they don’t have to be boring. So, let’s hear it. What do you do to make your meetings more interesting and productive?

Dark haired woman watches from audience of conference event

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