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Idea In Brief: Meeting to share information is a terrible waste of precious time that most of us can’t afford to lose. Be intentional about your meetings by sharing essential information in written form in advance and focus your meeting energy on using that information to solve problems, generate ideas, and explore opportunities. This approach will require more discipline and planning, but the time saved and the improved meeting outcomes will make it worth the effort.

(2 1/2 Minute Read)

Sounds harsh, but bear with me. I am not talking about big company announcements or exciting kick-off meetings designed to rally a team. I’m talking about the typical recurring status and update meetings. You know, the ones that represent about 90% of what’s on our calendars.

When we meet to share information, like in a typical update meeting, it just conjures up memories of Pre-K circle time. It’s like “Show and Share” for grownups, and we can do better.

We have so many important things to do, and we don’t want to waste it in meetings to share information, which is arguably the worst way to share information.

There are several problems with using meetings to share information. Specifically:

 

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Most people aren’t spontaneously brilliant
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It takes too long
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Reading comprehension is superior
The alternative I’d like to offer is that you share information in written form and meet only to act on that information.

This approach requires some discipline.

It’s much easier to gather your team together when it’s convenient for you and share whatever information you’d like to share. But a carefully crafted communication sent in advance allows the opportunity for processing and preparation.

It takes effort, but higher-quality decisions and outcomes make it worth it.

Most Of Us Aren’t Spontaneously Brilliant

 

Although I’m optimistic I might have a moment, I’m certainly not counting on it. The truth is most of us need time to process new information so that we can contribute effectively to a decision or other action we want to take on an issue. We benefit from priming and can expect higher quality discussions, decisions, and meeting outcomes.

It Takes Too Long

 

One thing we can all agree on is that we don’t want to waste time. We can read so much faster than we can listen – about 40-50% faster. For example, according to Grammarly, this post takes 2 minutes and 33 seconds to read, versus 4 minutes and 54 seconds to speak.

40-50% is a lot!

This time adds up when you look at all the meetings you attend in any given week. And wouldn’t you prefer to spend that time in the meeting solving problems, generating ideas, and exploring opportunities?

Reading Comprehension is Superior

 

And it’s not just that sharing information in a meeting takes too long. We don’t retain or comprehend it as well. In a scientific study comparing comprehension of students who listened to a podcast and students who read the same material, the results were fascinating. The students took a quiz two days after either listening to a podcast or reading the transcript. The podcast students scored an average of 59%, while the readers scored an average of 81%. That is a huge difference!

Idea into Action

Here are a few ways you can put the concept to work for you.

 

  • Take a look at your upcoming meetings that you are leading. How might you leverage priming and share information in advance so that your colleagues have time to process and prepare? Ask this question before setting up future meetings.
  • Focus your status meetings on solving the most significant problem or the highest impact opportunity instead of sharing information. Check out my post, “You Waste 30% of Your Time in Status Meetings, Try This Instead,” for more tools and techniques.
Meeting to share information is a terrible waste of precious time that most of us can’t afford to lose. Be intentional about your meetings by sharing essential information in written form in advance and focus your meeting energy on using that information to solve problems, generate ideas, and explore opportunities. This approach will require more discipline and planning, but the time saved and the improved meeting outcomes will make it worth the effort.

Please share your thoughts with me on this, and if you’ve found this information helpful, you can help me get the word out by using the links provided and sharing it with a colleague.   Thanks!

Work well,

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Hi! Pardon the interruption. If you find my post valuable

would you share it? That would help me out so much! Thank you, and work well! Adriana