« Freakonomics Radio

How to Make Meetings Less Terrible (Ep. 389 Rebroadcast)

2020-05-28 | 🔗

In the U.S. alone, we hold 55 million meetings a day. Most of them are woefully unproductive, and tyrannize our offices. The revolution begins now — with better agendas, smaller invite lists, and an embrace of healthy conflict.

This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
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Polly Plaque was the secret weapon behind some of the most beloved movies of this seventy 80s and Ninetys this season on. You must remember this: we're telling Platt full story for the first time so join us. Won't you for Polly Platt, then possible woman. New episodes drop every Tuesday. Subs on the the stitcher or wherever you find your pod casts. You like podcasts right, whether you listen occasionally or can't get through your day. Without them, there is a great app you need to try. It's called sticker stitches, a free app for Iowa an android. That's really easy to use from classic favourites to new hit, shows from Opera and Conan o Brien, as well as the best of true crime like cereal and my favorite murder, stitches home to all your favorite broadcasts, visit stature, dot, com to download structure for free
today, either Stephen Dublin. I recently launched a spin off podcast with my behavioral psychologist friend, Angela Duckworth. It's called new stupid questions, how satisfied are you with your life? Have you pack the happiness curve? How do we explain increasing rate serves oppression. Are you suggesting that young people are unrealistically optimistic? Are you a hard worker marks said money? Is everything Freud's that sex is everything and Einstein said everything is relative and I say you should subscribe No stupid questions right now, we're ever you get your pocket as for economics, radio, here's a question for you has sheltering in place protected you from meetings now meaning in virtual meetings can be even worse than the regular one. So we thought it was time to
into our archive to play. You and important episode we put out last year. It's called how to make meetings less terrible, The rules still apply, maybe more so in a socially just. World hope you enjoy I'd like you to be particularly open minded today, and thank you to entertain the past only the two absurdly disconnected stories may in fact have a deep connection and if you're willing to see it through, this connection may yield insights, substantially improve your life or not, but let's try the first story set in the Oak of Anglo Delta in Botswana, Catalogue of English, absolutely beautiful, world's largest inland delta tat surround
I desire, and this could have a role jewel in the middle of the Sub Saharan Africa. Howie Walker is approach. These student, I said he became quality at the University of Idaho. When we spoke She was in Mozambique, every now I'm studying three species of spiral, horrid antelopes Oh Commando Walker, was studying species known as the african wild dog. So it's amazing about this study say. Is these dogs had been followed for twenty five years, so they are raised with vehicles right there and there so habituated. They they really don't recognize the vehicle. This allows the researchers to get close enough to record really good video, So the recordings are pretty intimate in the videos. The dogs lie around keeping cool in the shade sometime they pile on each other in play, and sometimes the dogs make. These strange sounds really fast. They maker Unvoiced Catholic, sneezes, here's what it sounds like
the address needs is really only happened in those events a thousand serving in what is a rally then the rye is on. I've got an incredibly social animals. They spend their whole lives in packs in each pack there are dominant dogs and less dominant docks. Let's say, the pack has just been lying around and the dominant dog gets up and he creates other dogs like your dog greets you when you get home from work, turnip recruit other pack, member pack to stop resting and sleeping in the shade to go. Hunt either ends in a successful rally where the whole pack leaves the resting site and goes to hunt or an successful rally where they might back down sneezes, remember sneakers. Only happened in those the events the only other He says that we observe up fifteen percent of them. Look like Erika sneezing because they are destined. Who knows so? Would the sneezing have to do with
are events where they some kind of communication. Well consider our second story, it's about this person, Pre Parker and I'm a group conflict resolution facilitator. How does one become a group conflict resolution? Facilitator? One grows up an account. Catered family specifically well by racial, I'm half indian, half white american and when I was nine, my parents divorced and they both remarried other people who were can radically different from their original marriage and they had during custody. So every two weeks out go back and forth between these two households and my mother is householders. Em, an indian and british Buddhist atheists, agnostic, liberal, democratic vegetarian Agatha household and my dad and and some other white american evangelical christian conservative Republican twice a week, church going family and I was part of both families. So plenty of
Germany for conflict resolution in family setting Parker went on to formally study conflict resolution. And she ultimately resolved actual conflict release tried to in Africa India, the Middle EAST, and these days, she's hired primarily by companies in conflict companies. It turns out often try to resolve their conflict by holding meeting and a lot of these meetings are unsuccessful. Why there's a belief summit spoken, sometimes unspoken that all meetings should be de risked. Yes, There is an opportunity to kind of be embarrassed to lose face, but we have seen Oh over indexed, on I want that to happen, that we ve drained the the meaning and the relevance of so many of our meetings of you. Men do a meeting where no one says what they really think. Of course you have but unhealthy peace can be as threatening
to human connection as unhealthy conflict and in my experience because of the norms of our culture and particularly in the? U S. Most of our gatherings suffer from unhealthy peace, not unhealthy conflict so Pre Parker likes to introduce healthy conflict into meetings to turn the meeting for time, wasting orgy of passive aggression into a well oiled decision making machine. If you looking for a model to do the same. You could do worse than copying our friends, the african wild dogs. Remember the sneezes happen when one of the dogs rallies the pie, to go hunting. Halley Walker was trying to discern the difference between a six so rally in an unsuccessful one. It turned out the sneezes were strong indicator, unsuccessful, rallies. About seven times more sneezes, nieces than in others
rallies. Could it be that the sneezes or have a dog pack votes on whether to go? hunting that sneeze means sure? Let's go hunting now and no these means near spy in the dirt for a while. So our research they didn't establish any direct causality ass. The kind of solitude I don T want to get across to we have be very strong correlation between the number of sneezes, so could be that you know they ve already decided and their clearing their knees. Passengers to leave It is a cue. We know for sure that to you, but we don't know for sure, that's a signal if that makes sense, but walk. Did find a relationship between the number of seats. And the status of the dog that attempted the rally individual was the one that got up and started the motion dominant as in the boss picture a meeting at your company, it's being led by the global salesman
when a dominant individual started the motion, then the only required three He says to guarantee success for them to leave the area network. Sub domain individual now picture same eating, but instead of being led by the global sales manager, it's the assist to the regional manager, sub domain individual repaired more than ten needs is for them to leave. So we from that shifting quorum threshold that your vote matters, but some votes just matter more. The dominant dog wants to leave at takes fewer individuals to as support the motion to leave. It takes a lot more momentum to convince the dominant individual to leave the resting site, Have you ever been in that meeting? Yes, yes, you have. You have been in every kind of terrible meeting. There is How do we know? Because we asked for economic radio listeners for their meeting stories and here's what you told us?
I have no idea what I'm doing there, because it is not irrelevant to my work and all most of us ended up working late because we- to be in the meeting was the day That's the guy you invited all of us said I've gotta run enjoy the meeting any just until they will literally like climbing up on the table and like an angel currently on the table shaking feast and screaming at each other. I buy spirit. Me in front of everybody, firming disrespectful, really understand the king. This is what I got myself wolden in meetings like this so today, economics, radio Why do we have so many meetings? What do we expect to happen to them and how can they be better
friends stature and make reductions. This is pre economics, radio, gas and explores the hidden side of everything. Here's your host Stephen Governor there are of course many kinds of meetings with different rules and customs and outcomes depending on where their held and with whom you ve got did board meetings and family meetings and the weekly floor meeting in a college storm. You may onto a knitting club or rugby team or religious group that meets regularly with such variety. There is no where this episode can be remotely encyclopaedic, so we will fall is on the most standardized meetings. The ones held professionals in offices, whether it's a construction company or attack or health care firm?
whether its non profit or an academic or government department, because all those places have a lot of meeting. The best estimates suggest that there are around fifty five million meetings a day in the who s alone, but Stephen Robert most professional. I turned approximately fifteen meetings a week, he's an organizational psychologist at the University of North Carolina Charlotte and as you move up the organizational hierarchy, innovation spend more and more time and meetings he's written a book called the surprising science of meetings basically it's the examination of meetings that workplace phenomenon trying to stand why they go bad trying to understand the dynamics emerge and meetings and trying to how to make them better, which import, because again fifty five million meetings today, and it's not a surprise to find it.
Negative spending you anywhere from fifty to ninety percent of their time in meetings. So does that fact mean that the but who end up running companies are institutions are basically the people who are good at meetings. Oh, I wish that was the case No, that does not appear to be the case. Some of the research I do looks the satisfaction with a meeting And if you survey people immediately after meeting one person is terribly more positive than everyone else, and this one per and is the meeting later, the person whose leave the meat hey. This is really good and why wouldn't they feel right there controlling the whole experience there talking the most severe like hey. This is Nirvana, but everyone else's forty much more negative experiences. So, in other words, you don't have to be very good to be considered even but say top quintal. That appears to be the case
So when you consider the fact that too many meetings has been identified consistently as the number one source of frustration at work the number one time waster at Work- Greece, to show that around seventy seventy. One percent of senior managers view me Things is unproductive now This is jarring right, because senior managers are the ones calling looks meeting senior managers are calling them unproductive. We know we have a problem. Bad meetings have just been accepted as a cost of doing business. I get. These speeches to senior hr leaders and talent leaders across the fortune. One hundred companies and I asked them how many of you have any content on your employer engagement surveys that covers the topic of meetings. Duenna, guess how many
people raise your hands. Two percent- hey! That's a really good guess s that right, and so there is no oh organizational intentionally around this and with, though, organizational accountability leader. Our job as part of this system, Bad meetings are just the cost of doing business. Like the rain, is in London. So I study meetings because I dislike them tremendously study them, because I know it is a source of frustration for so many people looking so we hold alive of meetings, even though most people don't like meetings and consider them unproductive, but there's a wrinkle. We know from the research that people act
we want to have some level of meeting activity per day and if you ask people to design their perfect day is very rare. That they say zero meetings? And this should be a big surprise. We know from social, psychological research that humans are inherently social creatures, as others, value of interaction and engagement with others. So maybe we put and dislike meetings even more than we actually dislike them in any case just about it when agrees, that meetings could use some improvement. So, let's start by taking a step back and asking what is meeting Sadly, the meeting is gathering, let's say two or more people who assemble for a purpose. That's a sensibly related to the functioning of an organization or a group that sounds very sensible. Meeting seem to be a communication event. That is basically neutral. That's Helen Swordsman, an anthropologist at Northwestern University
place where you come together. You have, problem. You solve it, you have a decision to make. You make the decision new whatever and when you actually study organizations you find that that's not really the way that it works one thousand eight hundred published a book called the meeting gathering in organizations and communities. I wouldn't say that meetings are the organisation. Which is to say that, instead of having meeting as a place to solve problems. We need to have problems and crises. And decisions to produce meetings. We actually have vastly superior technologies to do who exactly the things that people say: gonna meetings that is Jen Sandler, another anthropologist who studies meetings, she's at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. So the question of why we continue to meet becomes really important. So one answer to that is
that we don't need to and the other answered as that's not what meetings are for that might be what we tell ourselves that, therefore Most of us have this experience to, or we go into a meeting that is ostensibly to make a decision but its clear that that decision has been made prior to meeting and then you know we might ask as participants in that meeting. Why are we even meeting, then we're meeting may to legitimize that decision or for somebody to say that that was a collect. Decision. Even though wasn't ok, it may not come as a shock to you. The meetings do not always serve their advertise purpose or where there is barely a purpose at all. We heard this sentiment from several listeners, including here Michael Conklin, who to work in the oil and gas industry after come? back from a short vacation. My boss came into my office frantically and said you just missed Three meetings in the last two days- and I said
my gosh. I must have missed so much tell me all these things that have changed and the boss froze and said. Well, then really change just keep up the good work, a figure that was a pretty good into fish in those meetings did not need to take place. So let's hear what the experts say about meeting basics, establishing it all setting an agenda deciding whom to invite even to term the length. What would you guess is the average length of a meeting magically the average length across the world is one hour and hence there is no reason for that This is a modern phenomenon that has emerged due to countering programs, like outlook and Google calendar so if you could invade everybody's calendar on earth and have a new precept? That was not sixty minutes. What would it be? I just want the leader to
think about how long the meeting should be so give it a set of goals, make a decision right. This is particularly important, given something called Parkinson's LAW and Parkinson's law. This idea that work expands. Whatever time has allotted to it. So if you schedule an hour, it's gonna take an hour. But if you schedule forty eight minutes, it's gonna take forty eight minutes. If you, the legitimacy of Parkinson's law consider this story for a listener. Named Chad weep he's a financial planner in Canada, so my boss of the time said: let's have a four hour long meeting, which is excruciating so this planning meeting. We had half an hour still to fill, and so I put my hand up- and I said you know what I think you be really appreciated. We just got everybody loose a half hour early, let it go and get back to the office of a bit earlier and I was met with silence for about ten fifteen sack
before one of my other middle managers. Piped up and said, you know what I just brought in a client who is a magician, and so we hired a magician for half an hour. It was unbelievable here's Stephen advice, rather than hiring magicians to fill out your scheduled meeting time set a tight timeframe in use at tightness. Dear advantage, psychology, research shows that when you add a little bit of pressure, it creates more focus and optimal performance. So if this, results in you, starting your meeting at one twelve p m and ending at one. Fifty, so be it. You are. If control make choices, we go into auto pilot and we follow specific scripts and we don't actually think about asking the first question of our meetings, which is what is the purpose of this meeting? Pre up
her again, her book is called the art of gathering. So it's our Monday morning, staff meaning as our Wednesday afternoon, sales, meaning that is not a purpose that is a category. So what is the primary what is your desired outcome of the staff meeting if you're, having this on a Monday morning. What do you want to be different for this week? If we weren't? to have this Monday morning meeting when anything be different and if nothing would be different, scrap the meeting if a leader truly recognises that they are inherently us, she would have others time. They do meetings differently right. They think carefully about what the meeting should cover. They think carefully about how that meeting should be facilitated, and we do this all.
The time when it comes to meetings, we have with customers right when we meet with a customer. We think about that in advance. But when it comes to employ meetings, we just kind of dialogue and we rely on habits, and a great example is the research shows that fifty percent of agendas are recycled. We would never do that with customers, My biggest piece of advice is, you know if you're gonna get people together in person when time is limited and resources are limited, other around the things that you can't figure out over email. So when you are thinking about your agenda, consider framing it not as topics to be discussed but consider framing it as questions to be answered by framing at his questions, to be answered, it's easier to determine who needs
to be there because the relevant to the questions, I feel like every time you call a meeting that involves a lot of people from different arenas You are inevitably asking each of them to waste a lot of time in a meeting they're getting larger and larger and larger, and This phenomenon is not happening at of bad intentions. Typically, we Just don't want to exclude any one and at the same time, technology makes it so easy for us to just hijack so its counter, and the research shows that larger meetings are just filled with additional dysfunction. While people generally complain about having a meeting I they complain just as much if they are not
invited to a meeting given this reality as there's a couple things that we can do so. First of all, we can actually designed the agenda such that part of the agenda is relevant to a large group of individuals, and then part of it is relevant to a smaller section of that. So a big group attends for part of the meeting and then people leave and then it's a scam Our group has additional discussion and what a leader can do is once they start thinking about you. Meeting attendees is being corps for secondary That can be a very useful distinction. Most of us have been raised with the age old adage, the more the merrier and for most gatherings less its literally or rave a soccer match or a concert, more is the harrier or the scarier. If you go to those secondary individuals- and you tell them hey I'm having a meeting here are the topics were going to talk about? If you have any input on these topics, please
feel free to email me. I will also show you the minutes of the meeting and at any point, The road you wanna go to. Future meetings are more than welcome and people really appreciate being given, arguably the best gift in the world right now, which has time the more specific your purposes them people can actually see themselves and say near I what I do not actually relevant to that, so dont make exclusion personal, make it purposeful. Ok, I need some personally ice, because I try to avoid meetings as much as possible soap, I'm showing my bias. I don't typically enjoy meetings, but also because of what, do for a living I just want, my days unencumbered. I want my days for reading writing thinking and interviewing people, and I dont want meetings. So sometimes unavoidable, and sometimes you know their great and useful, and I don't mean to reign on them. But one thing I don't like
is when you arrange a meeting with someone is usually via email, and then they send me a calendar. Invite I dont want somebody else's software living on my computer and then every time there's an update to get another allure, I don't I dont want the distraction like I took the time to plan the meeting. I know a plan, a meeting. I put it in my calendar I'll, be there you're, not you don't feel my pain, that's ok, we can move on. I actually think is actually very deep, So we live in an age where you're talking about software, but basically we live in a multi cultural, diverse, everybody is kind of their own island, but also all sorts of other things world and all gathering all of the time and gathering at some level is in form of empty, vision at some level at every no Sir yes, you're. Sorry, none were actually what I love about. How you're talking about it is. It should be thought of as form of imposition, and you only take the meeting.
So the gatherings where you think that you are willing to tolerate that imposition and what you're talking about is. I actually think your instinct I want to have my days free. I want to think I wanna write. Our interview is much healthier instincts, because you're raising the bar for anything to get through to you and so for many the companies and organisations I work with, I dont say gather more, I say gather better and in many cases I mean gather less coming up after the break, how to go less and better. How to start your meat had ended and how to make sure that any physical violence is pre planned. We basically said walk back to the cage match How would my or your life be fundamentally different? If you knew you were going to live forever? How far would you go for your dog? A lot of us have spent weeks months in some sort of isolation,
lockdown. What would you predict is one social interaction that many people will not revert to when this is all over. I'm Angela upwards even governor, I'm a psychologist at PAN and I run an educational nonprofit called character. You also read the book gripped yes and I'm a writer and I hope the podcast called for Economics Review and you wrote the book for economics him on quite a few others did anyone. I became friends, we did We discovered that both of us really liked to ask each other question and is only one rule the rule is there are no stupid questions. I think it's increase. Really hard to predict success. Do you agree to any advice for people to feel better about being alone and public? What is your biggest regret as a parent no stupid questions is out now subscribe on stature, Apple podcast wherever you listen, Andy Listen to the show ad free by subscribing to such a premium
Stephen Robot. An organizational psychologist and pre Parker. A group conflict resolution facilitator are trying make your meetings less terrible? Ok, so how You start a meeting first example how not to start so. It starts A person arrives ten minutes late and then the leaders has okay. We can start now or workers get is the leader herself or himself that shows up late and then they start the meeting with a whole bunch of news and announcements things I clearly could a day communicated and other mechanisms. Then the leader says I have a really important issue to talk about and they start talking that issue and they dominate the discussion and then
person the meeting, starts to dominate the discussion and the next thing you know the leader looks at her or his watches has oh gosh we're out of time, but you know what let's run tenant. After the meeting time just to see if we can close the loop and says okay, look, I've heard from you all, but in an effective only hurt. Or to people and the other people either didn't have a chance to speak or were completely irrelevant to the discussion. So the meaning ends ten minutes later than it. Should the leader thinks that there was a good decision made, but no one else feels that way. They go back to work and they go off what just happened. It's called meeting recovery syndrome and what we
find is that when people have bad meetings, they don't necessarily just leave it at the door. It sticks with them. They ruminate they co ruminate and they even reported negatively affecting their productivity after the meeting or you could start you meeting like this, don't open it with logistics, openness and the first five or ten minutes connecting people in a specific way. Here's an idea, Parker got from someone who ran a weekly staff meeting He started her meetings by saying: was everybody do a rose and a thorn which a sort of this old exercise of like? What's the best part of your week, was the worst part of your weak and it just the first ten minutes. The rest of the fifty minutes was used. Hermia business quote and she called me up, and she Add my meetings have transformed. I said why and she said well. First, our team has changed over time because the risks people take every week to week. Some people share silly soft. Some people share deeps of some people share stuff from work. Some people say our over the weekend. Actually, change was allowable in the conversation should that, but the second thing that has
most interesting, as I didn't realize us, but people have started to say more real stuff in the context of work because by starting the meeting with including a thorn as the base default, I didn't as I was playing a role as cheerleader and they didn't think I could handle or wanted to have fifty fifty thorns, and so I changed the norms of what's acceptable and what we talk about for the rest of the meeting Cypriot. You write that businesses, ten to quote, run on a culture, positivity. What do you mean by that unhappy? A counter it well It is panels that are asking guests to talk about all of their successes or launch a product. Or whether it is a meeting in which you are talking about how wonderful or how great things are and so part have the unwinding of the cult of positivity is to go back and ask what is the purpose of this gathering and often
positivity prevents progress, talk about the difference between generous authority in Ungenerous, sir, as you term, it imperious authority part of that role of a host is to practise generous authority. Then I'd ungenerous authority. To do three things with their guest first is to connect them to each other into the purpose, to protect them from each other and to temporarily equalize them, because in any type of group, people will fall and the default patterns that they always fall into, whether they know people or not and your role as a host is to temporarily allow them to behave in a way that helps you collectively go to that purpose. So if I,
meeting leader, I can do different things. Instead of asking people to prepare an advance, you advocate the very first part of the meeting to reading the preparatory materials, because at that point at least you know everyone has done it and then there's other unconventional tools like Even if I have a large group of folks, I want them to engage strongly on a topic. If I have people pair up and work in die ads, even just for a few minutes and then come back together. As a group me having folks Workin Dyad changes the whole dynamic of the large group discussion, the level of communication and passion will be much higher, but what we know from the research is that left to just the standard protocols of people talking that a decision better than what would have just been produced by the best individual in the room only occurs
twenty percent of the time. So most typically meeting performance is just not optimal. The problem with meetings is that the proportion of good use of time and bad use of time is out of whack and if I think that's, the critical issue is just figuring out. How can we increase the proportion of good time of bad time. Good time is when they attendees of the meeting are interacting in a genuine way, such that the dust additions and solutions being generated might surpass what, one individual could have done by themselves and that time is not necessarily free of conflict. In fact, we want conflict and meetings, but we don't want is personal conflict, but we want conflict around ideas. So if you have a group,
going to battle with incredible passion around ideas that is a fantastic meeting, especially if it's a scam The environment and people go wow. That was That was amazing that we could have this level of disagreement, but in a way that does not castrate every one in the room or as pre a park or put it really are in o unhealthy peace can be as threatening human connection as unhealthy conflict and most of our gatherings suffer from unhealthy peace, not unhealthy conflict, so sometimes Parker has to invent some healthy council. I was brought in to architecture firm, though seventy years old architecture firm to figure out there, a vision for the future and
for debating whether to maintain being an architecture firm, which meant, in their case whether to continue be bricks and mortar building buildings or whether the pivot and become a design firm, and there is real disagreement firm, but you wouldn't know it by being in the room and end time. Someone would say something even related to one of the possible visions. Every one else would shrink back. Right. They weren't willing to go there and it was very polite. So, during the coffee break, my client said to me: he literally whispered me Prieta, we need more heat, and so we pause and thought. Okay. Basically, the norm of politeness in this context is too strong for good controversy to happen through the way they normally meet one. So we quickly in Photoshop, took to the photos of architects head and slap them on like wrestlers body
We print of the mound put em on two walls. One side was the head, meaning design and the other was the body meaning the future would be architectural bricks and mortar and the architects came back and we basically said walk back to the cage match in one corner. I was kind of like the M saves again one corner of the body in the other. You have a head and fortunately, for us, the two architects were game as though they started like Jim. Praying and like we are raising their hands over their shoulders. We assign coaches to each of the sides. They threw white towels around her neck. We play the rocky music right, we interrupted the script and I said each side has two minutes to say the strongest possible. You meant for the future of the vision of the firm, whether its architecture, design and then they got two minutes were bottle and everybody else. This was the case inside everybody else has to physically choose aside no new tab. Quality and no wallflowers, and what that did was it broke the norm of implicit consensus which there wasn't and what was the outcome of this architect cage much
so. At the end, the group voted and in the best arguments the body and was that choice considered binding. That choice was considered recommendation, but people knew that ahead of time and so the deeper out, some of that meeting is that they have a shared memory that they are capable of this they are capable of speaking. This way on any room, there's kind of troublemakers and smoother overs and the trouble Baker only says. What I learned today is that we have too many meetings. That's the nature of the we'll make her while the troublemakers, a really useful role. Would you think of yourself as a Moreover, a troublemaker who me you haven't figured that out by now, I'm plainly the troublemaker, so I think and healthy context. If you share a common purpose, troublemakers, Cuttenclip cash, we really and one of the things that I often do in groups as have people raise your hand whose a troublemaker who is a smoother over and then ask whose both and beheld
both- and there are always a few in a group- are the ones who are most likely to be part of transformational conversations. That's because as a troublemaker, you're willing to poke and prod and you're, not afraid of little heat, but as a smoother over your also interested in repair coming together and going. Early conversation, most human, action and gathering suffer more from unhealthy peace than from unhealthy conflict and in those contacts, if you're a group of smooth. Moreover, I can diagnose immediately that this is a very unhealthy place. I am happy to report that our list new ship includes plenty of troublemakers as well as smooth. There is over. They have told us, about some very successful meetings, My name is released, Piazza Cognitive, neuroscientist at Princeton University, I'm actually pretty lucky, because I often hear people That was an awesome meeting lab meetings are opportunities for scientists to come together and share their latest data and then brainstorm next steps for the project, and occasionally we also
a recent, sometimes controversial journal article. I often come oyster energized, because I thought of a new question to test or an algorithm to implement. And sure. Maybe science is inherently more fun an exploratory than other careers, but I think one of the region these meetings are so effective and generals that people with distinct skills and perspectives are coming together with the shared goal of helping our colleague improve and we heard about some less successful meetings- hey guys Mademoiselle so one of the worst meetings I have attended was when I was working on my start up. We came together for our weekly T meeting and the goal is to come up with new ideas for our mobile app we just ran to a creative block. We weren't compared with any good ideas, and I forgot idea was, but one of my teammates, suggested that we go outside and smoking weed to give more creative, so we behind the building. You know like when the loading doc
all this got really high. Smoking weed was supposed to make us more creative, but in reality it has been a really unproductive and we hang out and joking around, and I guess it made us better friends, but it wasn't really a great meeting so heard from some listeners have taken an entirely different path. My name is John Cosgrove and I live in Minneapolis Minnesota Committee from Ireland twenty years ago. Seven years ago, I started a company, ironically in the meetings and events, industry and, and seven years they have not this single meeting compilations to be running very successfully, indeed the reputation of meetings so poor that many people simply. Void, holding them more cuban and Elon Musk, for instance, some company these have instituted no meeting days to give employs a chance to do their work without being dragged off to the conference room, but still fifty
Five million meetings a day in the? U S, that's the reality, Stephen Rosenbergs on some other small measures to alleviate the pain. Snacks, of course, getting people to switch out of the usual seats use anonymous surveys, so people can raise objections without fear of reprisals, the research shows that just asking attendees to rate a meeting raises the quality of meetings at that firm? What about when people sit through meetings staring at their phones? One of the counter productive behaviors we focused on was this idea of Malta Tasking and really trying to understand why people multitask, despite the fact that clearly it attends to bother others. But then the other piece of it is both a tasking as a coping mecca some would employ walks into a meeting, they are languishing control, and so how can you get that control? back well, you can day dream you can make less or,
you can multitask and so that tell you, can reclaim your power so one of the techniques that are trying to build a break in the middle of a meeting. So if I tell him hey, I promise you in thirty minutes you can check your phone. That's gonna help. Their minds at ease, and one final important thing at the end of meeting first issue, alas, call so the same way that a bar has, alas, calling it a flashlight Sir Leon I say last call and most meetings most gatherings, dont end. They stop and we re time. Then we, like everyone, Ralph scatters, you know oh went to end the meeting, because the questions have been answered and if you can't come up with any quest. Since you should have a meeting but then to help people understand when we go back out into the
I like who is doing what what was decided here and are we all aligned. People want to feel that their time was well spent, and this becomes a cue to tell you that indeed it was. If you know you have absolutely answered these compelling questions, then you leave their sank. I accomplish some. And to have a good memory, the end which is like what are you most want people to remember and dont, and on logistics and on what you? people to remember our job done? Then, thanks, freer Parker and Stephen Rosenberg, thanks to our through apologist and behavioral ecologist friends and the african wild dogs, of course, in a big thanks to all economics radio listener to send us their meeting stories.
I hope some of these stories prove useful. Now, as well as when we all returned you face to face meetings coming next time on for radio. As you know, covered. Nineteen has driven unemployment up to historic levels. The true unemployment rate is probably around nineteen twenty percent right now. So how does reemployment happen. We go looking for winners, losers and any signs of good news. I can make that Ass, a little more helpful for some people like former central candidate Andrew Yang. The solution is obvious. So we need to adopt universal basic income to day right now. That's next time in the meanwhile take care of yourself, and if you can someone else too, Fr Economics, radio is produced by stature and w productions. This episode was produced by met, frantic our staff also
clues. Ellison Craig Low Gregg Ribbon Zactly pesky, Daphne Chin met Hickey married to Duke an Cornwallis. We had help this week. From Nellie Osborne. Our theme song is MR fortune. By the hitchhikers or the music was composed by we scared you can subscribe to for radio and any podcast at our entire archive count exclusively on the stitched up or at free economics that com, or we also publish, show, notes and transcripts, and you can sign up for our email newsletter there. If you like to reach us or Hell is radio at for economics outcome. As always, thanks for listening, Stitches.
Transcript generated on 2020-05-31.