Most people waste one-full workday a week in ineffective meetings. One. Full. Workday. That’s crazy. And that’s just the ineffective ones.
So why is this?
The Economist article “Tortured by Meetings” attributes the wasted time to the following reasons: lack of prepwork (yup), run-on tangents (ugh), and zero follow-up (we swear we didn’t pay him to add that). But the one that had never dawned on me before was this idea of Meeting FOMO (my term, not his).
FOMO (Fear of Missing Out). Typically that term is referred to the anxiety someone has that an interesting event may be happening elsewhere, like a birthday party, sports game, etc. In this case, it’s not something that is traditionally thought of as fun at all. It’s meetings. Wait, what?
“Although workers hate attending meetings, they loathe being excluded even more”, the article explains. Meeting FOMO would suggest that people feel important when they are invited to a meeting, so when one is happening that they AREN’T invited to, it induces a sense of paranoia. To prevent that paranoia and in fear of seeming rude, the meeting organizers invite everyone who may have even the slightest interest in the topic to the meeting. Before you know it, half of the organization is huddled in a conference room debating sending fruit baskets or popcorn balls for the holiday gift this year. What a massive waste of time (and money). The meeting, not the gift baskets.
So how do you prevent that? In my opinion, it’s developing a before, during and after meeting process to ensure that only the appropriate people are present as well as a summary of decisions and actions items that is sent out or posted to a place where it can be easily accessed.
Because as “Tortured by Meetings” states, “There is no point in holding a meeting unless everyone knows what has been decided afterwards.”
Amen to that.
In the end, our value has no correlation with the amount of meetings that we are invited to. Request a copy of the outcomes and actions – and save the FOMO for Coachella.
Until next time,