Why Maybe, Just Maybe, We Actually Love Meetings

Ask many a middle manager the bane of their corporate experience, and the answer will be "too many meetings."

But HBR blogger Ron Ashkenas smells a rat. His take is that meetings, even bad ones, fulfill some inner needs that make us actually like to go to them, even if we won't admit it. We like:

  • The social interaction. "Meetings make them feel part of a community."
  • Being in the loop. "People need to know what's going on in other parts of the organization."
  • The inferred status. "Membership on multiple committees means that you are important, your opinion is valued, and you have a seat at a decision-making table."
"These psychological drivers of meetings are very powerful -- and usually trump all of the logical and rational 'meeting management' advice that is doled out in courses and articles. In other words, what seems like wasted or unproductive time for many managers is actually fulfilling important personal and organizational needs."
And darn it, Ron is right. Imagine if suddenly all those meetings scheduled on your calendar disappeared. How would you feel? What would you be missing?

Read his full post, Why We Secretly Love Meetings.

So next time you carp on meetings, consider the alternative.

(Image by Flickr user KCoDE, CC 2.0)