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Was That B2B Marketing Meeting You Were in Today Necessary?

Date posted: September 9, 2014

B2B marketing meetings are supposed to be productive, but the fact is that too many meetings have precisely the opposite effect. There are 25 million meetings a day in the United States; I wonder how many of these are superfluous. A wonderful infographic on hubspot.com quantifies the horrible effects unproductive meetings have on business:

  • It wastes money.
    More than $37 million per year is spent on unproductive meetings.
  • It wastes an organization’s time.

o   15 percent of an organization’s collective time is spent in meetings— a figure that has increased every year since 2008.

o   Middle managers spend 35 percent of their time in meetings.

o   Upper management spends 50 percent of their time in meetings.

o   Personnel spend up to four hours per week preparing for status update meetings.

  • Most meetings are unproductive.
    Executives consider more than 67 percent of meetings to be unproductive.

Three principal elements are identified as causing unproductive meetings: multitasking, lack of engagement from remote participants, and lack of planning and structure.

92 percent of survey respondents confessed to multitasking during meetings. 61 percent admitted checking e-mails; 41 percent said they multitasked during meetings “often” or “all the time.” 49 percent acknowledged doing other, unrelated work. Remote participants find it hard to follow along, remain engaged, and contribute effectively. Maybe this isn’t surprising, as 80 percent of messages we receive come from body language.

All may not be lost. Facilitating effective meetings is a skill that can be learned and honed. Considering the sheer amount of time spent in meetings, companies would be wise to invest in improving meeting effectiveness.

Here are five tips for having better meetings:

  1. Schedule shorter meetings.
  2. Set clear expectations.
  3. Send materials in advance.
  4. Start and end on time.
  5. Avoid monologues— engage participants.
  6. Stay focused.
  7. Capture key points and action items.

Finally, ask yourself these questions before scheduling a meeting: Is the meeting necessary?

Who really needs to be there? And what can be done to assure that it is focused and interactive?

Well, enough about this for now. I’ve got to go to a meeting.