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The Surprising Science of Meetings

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The Surprising Science of Meetings

How You Can Lead Your Team to Peak Performance

Oxford UP,

15 min read
10 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

Save time and energy by facilitating better meetings. (Hint: the best ones are 48 minutes long.)

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  • Applicable
  • Well Structured
  • Concrete Examples


Many managers regard inefficient, unproductive or boring meetings as an unavoidable business flaw. Professor Steven G. Rogelberg challenges this assumption with ideas on how to stop wasting time and energy by facilitating better meetings. He bases his advice on research, best practices and surveys. Rather than cancelling meetings, he says, improve them by being mindful and skillful about their design and delivery. He suggests short “standing meetings,” which offer health benefits, satisfaction and efficiency. To improve your meeting culture, try his smart strategies. 


Acknowledge that meetings can cause a lot of frustration, and assess your meetings to seek improvements.

Everyone needs to meet for team discussions, interdepartment alignment and group decision making. But everyone needs to meet effectively. Meetings can cause frustration, especially when they waste time and energy due to a bad meeting culture.

Think of the opportunity costs: While you’re stuck with your colleagues in a meeting, you all could be spending time doing real work. When your company manages meetings effectively, meetings add to productivity and organizational cohesion. And when it doesn’t, they add to cost. In 2014, meetings cost the United States’ economy about $1.4 trillion – roughly 8% of the nation’s GDP that year.

Rather than getting rid of meetings, solve your problems with them by applying science.

Employees have no lack of cynicism when it comes to meetings. Yet getting rid of all meetings is not feasible. Without meetings, you would lose contact with your colleagues, disconnect from other departments and become single-minded about difficult problems. Rather than eliminating meetings...

About the Author

Steven G. Rogelberg is professor of organizational science, management and psychology at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte. He researches, teaches and consults with large organizations on meeting science. 

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    J. M. 2 months ago
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    N. P. 2 years ago
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    V. B. 2 years ago
    Good points. May consider the following: Need of meeting be well established. That is, all concerned must agree that the problem can only be solved thro meeting. Also the problem be well defined and all concerned must agree the problem exists and is quite clear