Ilya Pozin, a serial entrepreneur and columnist for LinkedIn, believes that business meetings have the potential to kill productivity. Though many LinkedIn members do not agree with him, Pozin has made an ardent case against meetings. After some consideration, I tend to disagree with his position. Here’s why…
Are Meetings A Waste? Is This LinkedIn Columnist Right?
Pozin says that according to the Center for Economics and Business Research, American workers spend 4 hours per week attending meetings. A Salary.com survey reports that 47% of workers feel meetings are a waste of time. (This does not include business meetings held at conference centers.) Pozin does not elaborate on what the other 53% of Americans feel about business meetings. For instance, I believe that some of the most creative decisions are made during productive business meetings. Pozin has taken a broad brush and painted all business meetings black. I feel that he is being unnecessarily negative.
After casually mentioning the statistics above, Pozin goes off on a tangent, sharing productivity tips from a project management and productivity expert (Tony Wong) so his readers can learn how to make meetings beneficial for everyone involved.
Pozin commits the rest of his article to productivity tips like the following:
- Keep the meeting short and sweet.
- Reduce the number of participants per meeting. Pozin states that any more than 5 participants per meeting can sap its energy.
- Pozin says most decisions don’t require an in-person meeting, but can rather take place over a phone call or by circulating a company-wide email. I disagree – such impersonal communication kills the whole concept of participating in the decision-making process. Detached collaborative practices may actually end up de-motivating workers.
- The columnist says that most managers do not define their meeting, which is why meetings drift away and last for hours without any meaningful outcome. There is some truth to this.
- According to Pozin, long introductions and rambling dialogues are the hallmark of many meetings. He says that many participants don’t prepare for the meeting and then get lost in the proceedings.
That’s all the columnist has to say. Is he right?
Conclusion: Do Meetings Kill Productivity?
Condemning all meetings in one breath is preposterous. It’s true that some business meetings contain many time-wasting elements, but it is also true that many meetings are incredibly productive. American companies have become more efficient since the 2008 downturn. Also, many Americans fear that their jobs may be outsourced to a worker from a developing nation. These realities have motivated many workers to focus on their job without wasting time.
I believe most American workers are responsible enough to understand how wasting time impacts the business and their job prospects. I believe that most American workers are sharp and productive. I also feel that business meetings are essential, although some meetings may be a waste of time.
In my opinion, Ilya Pozin relied less on experience and more on opinion in determining his position, and may want to reconsider his stance on business meetings.
About the Author: Steven W. Hamilton of Napa, California is an online entrepreneur who utilizes services like Empowermint.com to find meeting venues for business events he helps to coordinate.