Make Meetings Productive with the Magic Number 7

by | Productivity

Marcey Rader explains the steps to hosting a video meeting where people pay attention (and not multitask)The Rule of Seven will help you rethink the way you conduct meetings and give you the power to revitalize you and your organization.

How can you make meetings productive?

Do you host your virtual meetings and wonder if anyone is paying attention? You're probably not shocked that 92% of workers admitted to multitasking in meetings!

We've all been in those virtual meetings checking our emails, replying to messages, scrolling mindlessly through social media, and wondering why we were invited and when this will get over!

Did you also know that meetings are considered the most inefficient and ineffective aspect of business? Research shows that approximately 65 to 70% of all meetings are unproductive and keep employees from working and completing their tasks.

You can change this scenario!

Be careful about your meeting invite list.

You can have a meeting where people pay attention. It starts with looking at the people that are invited. 

If you met face-to-face, you'd have eight people and had a boardroom with eight chairs. 

But, when meetings are virtual, people feel they can invite everybody. However, many people aren't contributing to these meetings and would be okay with a status update. They could get an email with the minutes of the meeting and any actions for them. If you have someone in your meeting who is not a direct contributor, they will multitask and check their email. It doesn't help to invite them. This is backed by research stating that 51% of professionals cite attending irrelevant meetings.

Don't invite people just in case. Just in case is not a valid reason. We don't need any nice-to-haves!

Remember the magic number ‘seven' for your meeting invite list.

Consider the chairs you have available and the rule of seven (for every person over seven in a meeting, decision-making decreases by 10%). It's not just too many cooks in the kitchen that spoil the broth. People are not paying attention if 10 or 15 people are in a meeting. Michael Mankins, a San Francisco-based partner with Bain and Company, states – 

“By the time you get 17 people in a meeting, the chances of your actually making a decision are zero.”

How many people do you want to invite to your next meeting?

Need help with effective meetings? Check out our training to get back your meeting mojo!

Post written by Marcey Rader and Rijul Arora.

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