Being busy doing nothing is exhausting. Why is half the world at meetings about meetings? The answer is simple. Meetings are one the most effective ways of avoiding work. It’s official. But unfortunately there are still a lot of people out there who love saying “I haven’t got time for this right now – I’m just going into a meeting”.
“Most meetings are fruitless”, says Scott Belsky, (below) author of Making Things Happen, “and they are expensive in terms of time and energy. When a meeting begins, the workflow of every team member stops. All progress comes to a halt.” Belsky says the best meetings happen away from a table – as “lengthy, pointless meetings are less likely to happen when everybody is standing and gradually getting weaker at the knees.” The best meetings are 10 minutes long.
Ian Price the author of “The Activity Illusion” used to work in the corporate world until he saw that “Everyone I worked with was frantically busy and yet so little was being achieved; this appeared to me to be the case the more senior the manager. I worked with people who were “too busy” to perform the basic functions of leadership – too busy to have 10 minute team meetings, too busy to delegate, too busy to give feedback.” This sounds like they were too busy to work.
And by the way, if you are going to use Power Point at a meeting limit your slides to six. Price believes that nothing switches off the brain better than a interminable power point presentation. The brain can’t focus on text and speech at the same time without wandering.
Of course it’s easy to be busy all the time- look at all the emails you got to check, the conference calls or even the video calls you have to take, checking your Blackberry or iPhone every second minute. So no wonder there’s time for an hour long meeting – it’s a break from being busy doing nothing.