impression,” Senning says. Bring something to take notes with and a steady attention span. Complete any assigned reading in advance.
“Nothing is worse than showing up to the meeting and finding that no one has read the documents that [you sent, and] you then have to explain to everyone what they should have read,” says Allen.
■ Make your phone (mostly) invisible. Despite the leave-the-device-at-the-door practice made popular by President Obama and Amazon, in most settings it is considered OK to bring your smartphone to meetings if you keep your attention on the speaker, says Senning. He recommends telling people in advance if you plan to use your phone to take notes or images of PowerPoint slides. But if people are gravitating to their devices in meetings, it may be a sign that the meeting needs to be more engaging, says Rogelberg. “Devices are signals,” he says. “Psychologically, the person is trying to regain control of the time.”
■ Diversify the discussion. No
one attendee should monop-
olize the conversation—and
no good facilitator should let
anyone do it. Dixon says he will
pull faculty aside later if they are
talking too much in meetings
because it bothers other staff
and “they will lose faith in you
as a leader if you don’t handle
it,” he says. All attendees can
share in that responsibility by
making an effort to contribute
even if public speaking isn’t their
forte, says Allen. His research
has shown that when people
make an effort to participate in a
PhD, of the University of North
Carolina at Charlotte who stud-
ies meeting science. Research
shows bad meetings can lead
to job dissatisfaction, employee
fatigue and what he calls “meet-
ing recovery syndrome”—time
spent cooling off after a frus-
trating meeting, which often
includes destructive commisera-
tion with colleagues.
“The next thing you know, the weight of the crappy meeting is higher, and it can spill over into other areas of work,” he says.
How can everyone make meetings more effective, even enjoyable? The best gatherings happen when meeting leaders view themselves as stewards of everyone else’s valuable time, says Rogelberg. Good stewards plan meetings thoughtfully, manage group dynamics, find out in advance why people want to meet and promote other people’s contributions rather than their own.
Here is more wisdom from experts for attendees and leaders on how to meet-up better.
■ Be on time. Arriving late to
meetings undermines produc-
tivity from the start—and upper
management members are often
the worst offenders, says Daniel
Post Senning, co-author of “The
Etiquette Advantage in Busi-
ness” and great-great-grandson
of manners guru Emily Post.
“Often, they believe the rules
don’t apply to them.”
Lateness may cause more
than irritation: In a paper under
review, Rogelberg and Joseph
Allen, PhD, found that when
a person showed up less than
five minutes late for a meet-
ing, productivity didn’t suffer.
But when an attendee or leader
showed up five to 10 minutes
late, “satisfaction, effectiveness
and productivity of the meet-
ing dropped dramatically,” says
Allen, an associate professor
psychology at the University of
Nebraska at Omaha.
Wallace Dixon, PhD, psychology department chair at East Tennessee State University, leads by example by starting and ending his monthly faculty meeting precisely on time. “If you don’t, you insult the people who got there on time, reward the people who got there late and convey to everyone their time isn’t that important,” he says.
■ Be prepared. Arriving “late, frazzled, with nothing but a leaky coffee cup doesn’t leave a good
STOP WASTING TIME:
KEYS TO GREAT MEETINGS
Whether it’s a gathering of health-care providers, faculty,
students or a mix, here’s how to make your meetings productive
BY JAMIE CHAMBERLIN
Else! The Effect
of Participation in
Yoerger, M., Crowe, J.,
& Allen, J.A.
Journal: Practice and
Rogelberg, S.G., Allen,
J.A., & Luong, A.
Theory, Research, and
Are Meeting Time
Leach, D.J., Warr, P.B.,
& Burnfield, J.L.
Journal of Applied