A recent survey of nearly 500 diverse business professionals conducted by Mersive, confirmed that business professionals attend meetings regularly, with 51% indicating that they attended more than three meetings a week, and two-thirds (33%) saying they attended more than 10 meetings a week. The survey also shed light into some of the factors that sabotage meeting productivity. Among the top offenders are some issues that likely won’t come as a surprise.
Among the top meeting productivity drains are technical issues. Despite today’s advancements in AV technology, nearly half of all meetings have some sort of issue with technology. A common scenario is the presenter who has difficulty getting his or her presentation onto the display. In fact, 41% of the respondents reported technical difficulties sharing to a display in over half of the meetings they attended.
Since meeting startup time and accompanying tone set the stage for the rest of the meeting, technical delays (along with presenter/attendee frustration) hamper the natural flow of information and collaborative processes. This unfortunate circumstance creates inefficiency and negatively affects productivity through lost focus and longer meeting times.
Nonetheless, research shows that a large amount of meeting time is spent simply getting things started. On average, out of a typical 70-minute meeting, six of those minutes are spent connecting the presenter’s computer to the in-room display, activating room control systems, and generally situating everyone. While six minutes may not seem like much, for most companies, this lost productivity can add up. Think about it this way: according to a University of Arizona study, there are more than 11 million formal meetings per day in the United States (about 3 billion meetings per year), meaning that those six frustrating start-up minutes cost.
U.S. companies 1.1 million hours a day. What’s more, those six minutes will be repeated for each additional person presenting in a given meeting.
Lack of participation and engagement was another top challenge to productivity revealed by this survey; with almost half of the respondents (44.8%) indicating that getting meeting participants to engage and participate was the most common challenge in meetings they attended. In addition, 44.2% felt that only half of the meetings they attended were actually productive and effective.
IMPROVING EFFICIENCY AND ENGAGEMENT
So what can be done to improve things? There are probably a few helpful answers to that question. Let’s focus on technology and its impact on focus and engagement. As revealed by the same survey, a vast majority of business professionals (98.1%) find it valuable when content is shared with the group via a display in the room. For meetings that feature presentations or other content shared visually, 43% of them felt that the most helpful way to facilitate productive and effective meetings was through the simultaneous sharing of content by multiple people on a display. Two thirds said that faster meeting start times would be the best way to improve productivity in these meetings. Finally, improving collaboration through the effective use of technology is another prime way to improving meeting productivity.
THE BENEFITS OF COLLABORATION
Collaboration in the classroom has been demonstrated to improve student engagement, retention, and scores, as well as to help students develop 21st century skills. When business meetings call for train- ing or learning of any kind, the interjection of effective collaboration using interactive technology can likewise boost focus and retention of information.
According to a Work.com study, 97% of employees and executives agreed that the level of collaboration directly impacts the outcome of a task or project.
In addition to the core benefit of more effectively reaching stated objectives, effective collaboration:
- Fosters creativity and learning
- Blends complementary skills, strengths and perspective
- Builds trust, encourages equal participation
- Develops a strong sense of purpose
- Enhances employee skills development
- Teaches conflict resolution skills
- Promotes a wider sense of ownership
- Encourages healthy risk-taking
- Delivers faster problem solving and increases innovation
- Creates an efficient pace of work (the “divide and conquer” principle)
- Improves job satisfaction and employee retention