Meetings aren't work

Why meetings are the opposite of work

Posted by Matthew Stibbe
Picture of Matthew Stibbe
on 28 October 2011
Advice Miscellaneous Strategy

Besides Turbine, where this article first appeared, my other business is Articulate Marketing and we work with some of the world’s biggest companies, including Microsoft, HP and Symantec. The one thing I notice at all these companies is that people have diaries crammed with  sales and marketing meetings; one after the other.

An early-rising friend of mine in a big company once said to me, “from six to nine, I work. From nine to six, I am worked.” I think this sums it up pretty well.

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I think one of the reasons I get so much more done than other people is that I really try not to have meetings or, if I do, to have them on the phone or web video so I don’t have to spend time travelling. I’m also pretty good at concentrating.

Back in 2007, YouGov, the polling company, carried out a survey of 1,200 businesses in the UK and reported that unnecessary face-to-face meetings cost UK businesses £17 billion annually.

  • 23 percent said that they could save 1-2 hours a week by not attending off-site meetings. 21 percent claimed 3-4 hours and 11 percent believing that 5-6 hours were at stake.

  • Half of respondents said that they have to plan their work around external meetings.

  • 67 percent travelled at least once a week for meetings.

  • 82 percent believed that many of these meetings were unnecessary and could have been accomplished over the phone.

  • Two thirds travel by car with obvious implications for carbon emissions.

Turbine exists to help people avoid wasting time on needless paperwork. But what’s the antidote to needless meetings? How do we build a happy company, not a miserable one?

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See also: happy company

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