Bad meetings lead to problems away from the meeting itself

A new report from Dr Steven Rogelberg of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and the author of The Surprising Science of Meetings, examines how meetings are conducted and the effect of both good and bad meetings on participants, and to expand on ideas from the academic’s previous research, including meeting leadership, inclusivity, and something called meeting recovery syndrome.

Published in partnership with Mentimeter, the study concludes that a significant portion of British workers believe meeting leaders to be unprepared and noninclusive.

Interview subjects think that leaders often do not appear to recognise the importance of giving a meeting thought prior to it occurring. Only 13 percent of Britons feel their meeting leaders almost always have a compelling plan for the meeting. 63 percent of Britons indicate that less than half of meetings are compellingly planned.

Further still, Britons indicate that leaders rarely come into the meeting in a positive mood. Just 39 percent find meeting leaders to frequently be in a positive mood when coming into a meeting.  This is particularly concerning given that 73 percent of Britons feel that the mood of the leader affects the overall mood of the meeting,

And, once the meeting has started, only 13 percent of Britons believe leaders are very good at including participants input into meeting.  Over a third of Britons (38 percent) feel that meeting leaders are poor at including participants’ input during meetings.

[perfectpullquote align=”right” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Bad meetings are not just left at the doors of the conference rooms[/perfectpullquote]

The report suggests the existence of something called “Meeting Recovery Syndrome” (MRS), defining it as the idea that attendees of poor meetings don’t shed the bad experience at the door; it sticks with them and negatively affects them outside of the meeting.  Over half (54 percent) of Britons find that a poorly conducted meeting negatively affects their productivity afterwards, and 53 percent need to talk to colleagues to refocus following poor meetings.

Dr Steven Rogelberg, Chancellor’s Professor and Professor of Organizational Science, Management, and Psychology at UNC Charlotte, comments: “The results highlight a problem I have seen in my other research – leaders are just not recognising their essential role in meeting success. Leader preparation, planning, and even the mood they bring into the meeting truly matters. It shapes the culture of the meeting, inclusivity, and effectiveness.

“Perhaps most importantly this research highlights the fact that bad meetings are not just left at the doors of the conference rooms. They stick with attendees. They affect productivity outside of the meeting. And, further yet, even more time is invested in ruminating with others about the bad meeting experience.”