Make a Boring Meeting Magical

Meetings are easy to hate. They clutter our calendars and often accomplish very little besides getting more meetings scheduled.

Bob Sutton, a Stanford professor who studies organizations, says a typical meeting is poorly run and prevents more valuable work from being done. “We spend about 85 percent of our time collaborating with people, which makes it more and more difficult to get our work done,” says Sutton.

Plenty of companies have tried radical solutions like banning meetings altogether. But are meetings really that bad? Or can we revamp the modern meeting so it's fun, useful and effective? On this week’s episode of Works For Me, I found out. After consulting with a raft of meeting experts, I attempted to reform one of my more aimless meetings: a weekly team check-in.

Many of the strategies I used, from putting toys on the meeting room table to setting a meeting time to 48 minutes exactly, were culled from “The Surprising Science of Meetings,” a new book by Steven Rogelberg, a professor at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte. “Decide how much time you think it will take, but then take five minutes off to kind of create some of that time pressure. And I think that when a meeting leader is playing with the amounts of time, then it creates a curiosity. It makes it seem like something unique and special is happening.” 

Listen to the full podcast now to discover whether a goodie bag of gimmicks actually transformed a lackluster conference into something magical, or just turned it into a circus.

If you have a workplace problem you’re trying to solve, leave us a voicemail at 212-617-0166 and we might use your voice on the show.

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.