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- Workers are having too many meetings.
- A third of meetings are unproductive, which costs companies $37 billion a year.
- Here are some common meeting mistakes, and what employers can do to fix them and be more productive.
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It comes at a cost: an estimated $37 billion is lost every year to unproductive meetings. That stat suggests that while we have tons of meetings, we’re not that great at them.
Tons of organizational psychologists have looked into why. Find the most common mistakes below.
You have too many meetings.
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Since a third of meetings "simply aren’t productive," according to the research, you should consider having fewer.
You don’t have a facilitator.
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"Advanced Facilitation Strategies" author Ingrid Bens defines a facilitator as "one who contributes structure and process to interactions so groups are able to function effectively and make high-quality decisions."
Every meeting should have one: a person who brings the discussion back to the topic when people go on tangents, creates the space for people, and helps dig into topic when they reveal themselves to be more complex than originally thought. In the same way an expert accompanist helps a singer hit the high notes, an expert facilitator helps bring the best out of a team.
You don’t establish and follow ground rules.
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Everybody brings a set of assumptions about how meetings should be run. But those assumptions don’t always match up: some people think you should talk as much as possible, while others believe in more measured conversations.
University of Nevada-Reno organizational development specialist Marlene K. Rebori says that ground rules "are explicit rules that the group agrees to follow to help them facilitate productive discussions," so that the way things should be done is something obvious for everybody.
She suggests a few examples, like "separate people from the problem; respect different viewpoints; share responsibility for following the ground rules."
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