Do you love meetings? Neither do I.
I realized that it was time to quit my last job when I noticed that I was spending an average of six hours a day in meetings, many of which I was asked to attend strictly on FYI basis.
Read.ai has raised 10 million to better understand what doesn’t work about meetings so that those who run it can do it better.
Its software analyzes the initial metrics such as start and end time, attendance and time spent on various topics. It then folds into observations derived from machine learning from audio and video recordings that indicate the level of engagement measured by factors such as participation, voice, and visual expression.
In April, the company released a report based on an analysis of more than three million tracked meeting minutes and contained some mandatory observations.
One in five meetings was rated inadequate by participants, with only 46% achieving a “good” rating.
Among the reasons given, the number of participants arriving late increases with the size of the meeting, with 51% being late for meetings with seven or more people.
On average, 30% of participants show up late, one-fourth isolated, one person speaks about half in most small meetings, and 22% of participants say not a word in meetings of seven or more people.
These results reflect my own experience quite closely, so I was interested in talking to Read.ai co-founder David Shim to get his advice on how to make meetings better. They are based on these seven factors.
- Get started on time. The bad meeting ended quickly, Shim said. The average starts a 3.3 minutes late, which doesn’t sound like much until you multiply the time wasted by the number of people in the room. The later the start time, the more isolated the team becomes. Late Asara also tends to participate less than those who were present from the beginning. “It makes less sense in the beginning,” Shim says.
- Invite fewer people, Especially large meetings. “In meetings of seven or more, we see that 40% are not involved in the conversation,” Shim said. “The many people you decide to invite throw everyone into a hole because they are afraid to insult others.” Instead, those who rarely contribute to the discussion should either be dropped from the invitation list or encouraged to speak up.
- Know when to shut up. Studies have shown that a person typically spends about half the talk time in meetings of three and six. This is a speech, and the speeches are annoying. “We see a reduction in engagement because there are fewer people talking,” said Shim.
- Shorten the meeting. As a journalist, I got a lot of pitch for executive chin-wags and product rollouts, so years ago, I started capturing all these meetings in 20 minutes. I’ve noticed that more compact schedules force people to start on time, get to points faster, and cut short. Read.ai’s research agrees. It found that the average meeting reduced the engagement of participants from start to finish by 16% and left more than 40% of the meetings lasting more than 50 minutes. Bean’s advice is simple: “Keep the important things at the beginning,” he says.
- Avoid backwards and inconvenient times. As the number of meetings increases, so does the value, says Shim. “People are more likely to be late or involved, and there’s a point where you can meet someone too much,” he said. Friday afternoon meetings are singularly unpopular. The best times of the week are Tuesday and Wednesday mornings.
- Video on. Although many of us have a love / hate relationship with the camera during video calls, Read.ai’s research indicates that when it is turned on, “there is a good response from others,” says Shim. “Even if you don’t like playing video, it makes others think there’s a level of engagement.” Also, you can’t fall asleep easily.
- Ask for feedback. Numerous web survey creators offer limited free subscriptions which is perfectly sufficient to collect anonymous post-meeting feedback. Given that few of us specialize in meeting facilities, it seems a shame not to use them.
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