Advantages and Disadvantages of Meetings

by Greg Skloot
Meetings   |   4 Min Read
bad meeting

Meetings are one of the most controversial topics in the workplace. Some people hate them, while others believe they are necessary for successful teams to work together.

There are some advantages:

There are also clear disadvantages:

In my view, the biggest problem with meetings is having them when they aren’t necessary.

There are typically 2 types of meetings:

Update meetings are the reason why people broadly hate meetings. They are never necessary, and result in everyone feeling bored and unproductive. There’s a few reasons for this:

1. Updates are better in writing

When status updates are shared in a meeting, they can easily get lost in the shuffle when everyone isn’t paying attention, or simply doesn’t retain every detail that was said. Instead, status updates should be shared in writing each week, and the meeting should be focused on discussion the most important issues that were raised in the updates.

2. Everyone wants to talk more than listen

Update meetings are spent passively listening to other people talk. While being a good listener is a noble trait, many people would rather speak and engage. The result is a group of very bored, disengaged people zoning out.

3. Everyone would rather consume information on their own terms

My team submits a weekly status update every Friday, and we all read them between Friday and Monday. This lets each team member consume that information on their own terms, whenever they have downtime. An update meeting dictates that NOW is the time that everyone must absorb these details.

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4. Everyone is busy with their own priorities

In update meetings, often there is a only fraction of the content that is relevant to each participant. That means, the majority of people are listening to updates that aren’t important to them. They have their own priorities they’d rather be focusing on. This is a key disadvantage of meetings: they often waste people’s time unnecessarily.

5. Managers and high performers want to hold the team accountable

When you do update meetings, you’re not easily able to hold team members accountable for delivering on what they commit to during the meeting. If it’s not written down, you can’t measure it. This is another reason why weekly written updates are far more effective than meetings.

Bottom line:

There are many advantages and disadvantages of meetings, and the best approach is to focus on these two takeaways:

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