Sure, they get bashed all the time as time-wasters and money-drainers. But a 2006 survey of employees found that most people actually like meetings.
The survey of 800 workers — conducted by a research team led by organizational scientists Steven Rogelberg, Cliff Scott, and John Kello from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte — found that 50 percent of respondents complain about meetings publicly, but when surveyed privately, have views that are more favorable.
When asked about the productivity of meetings, 42 percent rated them as good, and 17 percent said they are very good to excellent. A quarter of respondents were neutral, while just 15 percent rated them as poor or worse. On the flip side, 50 percent of the survey's respondents feel that most meetings leave room for improvement.
Effective meetings, the study concludes, have a positive effect. “Many employees desire meetings, value opportunities to participate and share information, and relish opportunities to interact about common interests,” said the authors. “When employees participate in few or no meetings, they may feel less empowered, deprived of information, or worse.”
For more effective meetings, the researchers say that it's critical to have an agenda, distribute it in advance, set time limits for each item, establish ground rules to promote participation and results, consider the order in which items are discussed, and talk about leader and participant roles and expectations. The meeting environment — the facility, space, temperature, and refreshments — also contribute to an effective meeting.