The Surprising Science Behind Successful Remote Meetings

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What can we learn from the latest research into making remote meetings more effective and engaging? A top expert shows what you can do to achieve optimal results, today

As Professor Steven G. Rogelberg of the University of North Carolina Charlotte explained recently in MIT Sloan Management Review implementing findings from the latest research can improve your remote meetings and keep participants more engaged.

Poorly run meetings have a tremendously negative impact on team success, innovation, creativity, and on individuals’ well-being and stress. In fact, experiencing a poor meeting can even result in meeting recovery syndrome, where employees lose additional time and productivity mentally recovering from a bad meeting.

Rogelberg’s research suggests that only around 50 percent of meeting time is effective, well used, and engaging — and these effectiveness numbers drop even lower when it comes to remote meetings.

Running meetings right can result in many positive and energizing outcomes, including better decision-making and increased innovation, cohesion, agility, and resilience — essential outcomes as teams and organizations struggle with the working challenges of the pandemic.

The good news is that there’s an evidence-based path forward based on more than 20 years of research on meetings and teams. Meeting science has yielded key insights that can be incredibly helpful to meeting leaders, especially during this challenging time that is marked by an increase in remote meetings. (Many of these guidelines will work equally well for in-person meetings, too, when those are again possible.)

According to Rogelberg, the best meeting leaders appear to share a similar mindset: recognizing their role as a steward of others’ time. Leaders often adopt a stewardship mindset when meeting with important customers or stakeholders because they would never want these key individuals to feel the meeting was a waste of time. Stewardship is often disregarded, however, when meeting with one’s team and/or peers.

When you adopt a stewardship mindset, you become deliberate in your meeting decisions from start to finish. Being intentional and making smart meeting choices do not take much time at all —...

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