Just 36% of business meetings help people do their jobs better

Senior staff estimate just a third of the time they spend in business meetings helps them do their jobs better and that less than half the time helps their organisation, new research from executive leadership coaches That People Thing shows.

meeting asleep

The company, which has worked with organisations including Manchester United, Santander, Mattel, Airbus and the Foreign Office, commissioned the research to understand what is bad – and good – about the business meetings culture.

Its nationwide study among senior employees found on average they believe just 36% of meeting time is valuable for their own jobs and only 44% of the time helps their business.

That is just the average – 73% believe less than half the time they spend in meetings is valuable for their job and 64% say less than half their meeting time is valuable for their company.

The detail of how they spend their time in meetings demonstrates that – 35% admit to daydreaming in work meetings while one in 10 have planned their evening meal while 27% are doodling and 1% are on dating sites or looking for other jobs.

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More than half (51%) say they go to meetings even when they know beforehand it is going to be a waste of time.

However there is general agreement on what makes a good meeting – 59% say a meeting which makes clear decisions is valuable, while 46% welcome a vigorous debate and discussion.

Blaire Palmer, CEO of That People Thing said, “Bad meetings are killing businesses. Meetings should be where key decisions are taken, where sales targets and figures are discussed and where the agenda is set.”

“The research however shows they are a huge waste of valuable resources tying up the time of key people responsible for the success of businesses in meetings where too much of the time they are achieving nothing.”

“Well-run meetings can create a positive ripple throughout the culture of a business and companies which address the issue of what is going wrong can see real benefits.”

“The research found the main problem with meetings was how long they were – 56% say meetings they attend are too long, followed by 43% who say colleagues have not prepared and the same number who say meetings veer off topic.”


  • Research conducted between May 18th and 28th 2015 among a nationally representative sample of 668 senior business people by independent research organisation Consumer Intelligence

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