Study: Less is More When it Comes to Meetings

Tolerate them or hate them, meetings are a necessary evil. Many accounting firms have tried to make them more productive and more palatable, but the complaints continue about the time, energy drain and frustration they cause.

According to a study by organizational consulting firm Korn Ferry, 67% of respondents reported they spent so much time on calls and meetings that their productivity dropped. Suggestions for improvement are outlined in a recent article by Karbon, an accounting practice management software provider.

Shorter meetings likely wouldn’t work in pre-Internet times, but fewer and shorter meetings make more sense now as workers are overloaded with online information and connections are easily made through instant messaging and email. Richard Branson of Virgin Group, for example, tries to limit meetings to 10 minutes. Many startups are saying 30 minutes is enough.

Karbon’s eight reasons why shorter meetings are more productive:

  • Less time means more pressure to get through the agenda – Attendees will get to the point fast in a 20-minute meeting.
  • Less time means more reason to prepare – Make a strong agenda that sets expectations, includes everything that needs to be covered, outlines an overall objective and includes contributions required of attendees
  • Less time means the ability to hyper-focus – Instead of skimming the surface of many topics, go deep into one.
  • Less time means fewer distractions – When attendees don’t tune out, they engage.
  • Less time means reduced burnout – Various studies have shown that back-to-back meetings without breaks cause spikes in stress.
  • Less time means less overwhelm – Consider sharing information in advance and limiting slides or supporting materials.
  • Less time means less opportunity for questions – Boundaries can stop clients from filling up time with requests for free advice.

 

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