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  • Writer's picturePilo

Escaping the “bored-room”

Updated: Jun 9, 2020

$399 billion is the cost of poorly organised meetings in the US according to Doodle’s 2019 state of meetings report. They estimate Professionals spend on average 2 hours in pointless meetings a week. It is time to escape the “bored-room”… right now! 

In 2017, the Harvard Business Review surveyed 182 senior managers in a range of industries: “65% said meetings keep them from completing their own work. 71% said meetings are unproductive and inefficient. 64% said meetings come at the expense of deep thinking, 62% said meetings miss opportunities to bring the team closer together.”

As Peter Economy highlights in his article on Inc., the consequences are quite dramatic on leaders and team members: “poorly organized meetings mean I don't have enough time to do the rest of my work (44 percent), unclear actions lead to confusion (43 percent); bad organization results in a loss of focus on projects (38 percent); irrelevant attendees slow progress (31 percent); and inefficient processes weaken client/supplier relationships (26 percent)”

First question is why do we even need to meet so much? In reality, we only should meet to make decisions and put a plan together… that’s it! To get the most out of a meeting, there are some best practices available:

  • Provide information ahead of the meeting (don’t waste time sharing information in the meeting)

  • Provide an agenda with a clear objective ahead of the meeting

  • Only invite the right people: “A 2010 study conducted by consultants Bain & Company found that for each additional person over seven members in a decision-making group, decision effectiveness is reduced by approximately 10%.” reports S. Rogelberg in the Wall Street Journal.

  • Request everyone to come ready, on-time, fully available and ready to commit

  • Allocate the correct amount of time for the meeting (20mn, 25mn, 35mn, 42mn…) and avoid to use the standard 30mn or 60mn allocation from calendars…

  • Only include the action items in the meeting wrap-up and summary (what, who, when)

Sooo… what can you do about this?

  • check out your own calendar right away… and cancel a meeting that represents a waste of time for you… if you are the organiser, even better… and if it’s a recurring meeting… you have just saved your organisation thousands of dollars… then, do it again!

  • before accepting a meeting, ask yourself this simple question from the excellent book from Michael Bungay Stanier: “If you are saying yes to this, what are you saying no to?” (The coaching habit)

  • finally, if you are running a meeting, apply all the best practices mentioned above… as you will generate value and employee’s engagement

On a more philosophical level, Seneca beautifully described human relationship to “time”. In The shortness of life, he wrote: “It is not that we have a short time to live, but that we waste a lot of it. Life is long enough, and a sufficiently generous amount has been given to us for the highest achievements if it were all well invested… So it is: we are not given a short life but we make it short, and we are not ill-supplied but wasteful of it… Life is long if you know how to use it.” This principle also applies to teams... deadlines would be met more easily and higher results would be achieved if we used our time better.

Are you ready for the challenge? Respect your time, respect others, make the world a better place… by cancelling wasteful meetings and escaping the “bored-room”!



  1. The state of meetings report 2019 (Doodle, 2019)

  2. Jeff Haden, Why 99 Percent of All Meetings Are a Complete Waste of Money (Inc., 2017)

  3. Steven G. Rogelberg, The Science of Better Meetings (The Wall Street Journal, 2019)

  4. Leslie A. Perlow,Constance Noonan Hadley, Eunice Eun, Stop the meeting madness (HBR, 2017)

  5. Peter Economy, A New Study of 19 Million Meetings Reveals That Meetings Waste More Time Than Ever (but There Is a Solution) (Inc., 2019)

  6. Michael Bungay Stanier, The Coaching Habit: Say Less, Ask More & Change the Way You Lead Forever (2019, Paperback)

  7. Seneca, On the Shortness of life (circa 49 AD)

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