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Meeting effectiveness, measured

How about some analysis of meeting effectiveness?    Startup Read released a study after measuring more than 3 million virtual meeting minutes, and here’s what they found.

For meetings with seven or more people:

  • 50% of participants arrive late
  • 40% have below average or poor engagement
  • 22% of participants don’t say a single word
  • 11% don’t have video or audio on

Overall, 31% of meetings start late, and 64% of all meetings have at least one participant that arrives late.   The company noted that with workers going remote amid the pandemic, people erred on the side of inviting more participants, and the default response of those invited was to accept. This is what introduced “Zoom Fatigue,” 

Another study out of Columbia University finds that video calls do reduce the production of creative ideas.   Face-to-face pairs produced more ideas and more creative ideas compared to those who met virtually.   However, when selecting which idea to put forward, both groups were equally effective, the results showed. The study pointed out that by using eye-tracking data, the authors found that virtual partners spent more time looking directly at each other as opposed to gazing around the room.   According to the authors, the findings suggest that visual focus narrows when people use a computer, limiting their cognitive focus.

Why do we care?

That phrase “Right tool for the right job” sticks in my head here.    Is a meeting the best way to address the need?      Is a physical space the only solution?    The answer is no.      Overuse or misuse of technology results in suboptimal outcomes.    Worth saying.      

There’s a fundamental skill in being an excellent remote company, remote manager… remote employee.  And there’s an opportunity to sell that education.