In the US alone, 11 million meetings take place every day. Yet, many doubt that they are of use to anyone. When done effectively, though, meetings might actually be able to save the world, says Toke Padulan Moeller from Art of Hosting.
“I think excessive meetings are the cancer of nowadays’ workplace culture,” said Mr Moeller, one of the founders of a network that offers training on how to lead productive meetings, currently in Alpbach leading the Summer School on Facilitation and Participatory Leadership.
“Many of the meetings are just incredibly boring. You walk away after a few days and wonder what you got out of it. Most of them don’t go anywhere.”
Mr Moeller is not the only one to think this way. According to a questionnaire published inIndustry Week, one third of the managers surveyed felt that meetings were a waste of time.
“The main flaw of meetings nowadays is that no-one is listening to each other, but everyone is just trying to push through their own agenda,” Moeller said.
According to the Dane, a successful meeting should have a clear purpose, a topic everyone thinks is important, and should leave room for all participants to engage in a discussion. “Not only are such meetings much more useful, they also take up less time and financial resources,” he said.
Yet, to Mr Moeller, the Art of Hosting is not just about innovating the way meetings should work. He thinks it is a way to maintain peace in the world. “The two World Wars took place because people didn’t know how to talk and listen to each other,” he said. “The ingredients for the Third World War are in place and we need to learn how to meet and collaborate effectively before all of this goes too far.”
“We have to stop f***ing around with boring meetings that only create unconscious decisions with bad consequences. Future generations will thank us for that,” said Mr Moeller.
Sarah Remsky and Ecem Hepcicekli report.