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Upper management spends as much as 50 percent of their time in meetings, and 15 percent of the organization's time as a whole is spent in meetings. Of course, if meetings were always a good use of that time, there wouldn't be an issue.
When they're not productive, meetings are more than a waste of time. They're also a waste of money -- $37 billion per year, according to Business Insider.
How can you tell if a meeting is worth it? A good meeting does at least one of the following:
1. Conveys a decision or other information that can't be distributed in some other way -- for instance, via email.
2. Allows collaboration on a scale that can't be achieved through more informal means.
3. Checks goals and allows people to see that they're on the same page.
How can you tell if a meeting is a waste of time, or at least not using time efficiently? These are bad signs:
1. The meeting is longer than it needs to be, because of a corporate cultural expectation that meetings are an hour long (or a half an hour, or two hours).
2. Participants are disengaged, e.g., checking their smartphones or staring off into space.
3. There's no agenda going into the meeting, and no action plan after it has concluded.
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