(2 1/2 Minute Read)
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:
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.
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!
GREAT concept! Have tried it, with varying success, dependent on the preparation of others and the existence of a culture of accountability (or lack thereof). Any tips or lessons learned that have helped adoption?