France is the champion of meetings of all kinds within companies. Managers and employees devote about five hours a week to meetings, which is equivalent, depending on the structure, to more than six weeks a year! Those that are also called “meetings” to make them more attractive, have become appointments completely meaningless. Why ? First of all, because they are often held without a specific objective.
This means that a quarter of employees do not perceive the usefulness, especially when they are mandatory, points out an OpinionWay study from April 2017. But also that 40% of participants focus on their smartphone or computer to passing time. It is therefore a real paradox in a “sprint” society: only one meeting out of four will result in a decision being taken. Which is equivalent to wasting the equivalent of three weeks a year meeting for nothing or not much… “CODIR”, “COMEX”, “COPIL”, “informal brainstorming”… the jargon competes in ingenuity to convey the pill for acute reunionitis.
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Risk of boron-out
It is possible to observe in neuroscience that the attention of the participants reaches a critical threshold after ten minutes on average. From there, arousal and maintenance of attention will decrease considerably. The ability of our mind to focus on the object of our presence will diminish. It can no longer be exclusive, so participants dive into focal and selective attention, allowing them to step back and focus on other things. Others will take part in the exchanges in the form of a structured monitoring where they will react to everyone’s comments.
Since work is seen as a realization of ourselves in society, boredom therefore sets in at meetings. Some leaders explain very well that it is a source of creativity and that the time spent meeting can therefore only be productive in the medium or long term. It is moreover by the vagrancy of his thought that Isaac Newton brilliantly carried out his scientific studies. Moreover, in terms of medical imaging, the areas of our cerebral system where the seat of boredom is located would be the same as that of creation.
However, meeting boredom cannot be ignored because it is also a source of various psychological disorders leading to demotivation, sadness, loss of self-esteem and anxiety. It often marks the beginning of the “bore out” at work. It results in disorders of memory, attention, concentration and neurological executive functions. Psychosocial risk, boredom in meetings is therefore a lack of stimulation experienced as an under-workload. the bore out is its consequence. In fact, our brain does not like boredom because it never stops, even during sleep when it produces dreams. This is why when meetings drag on or are meaningless, it is possible to see drowsy attendees. The boring environment stimulates neurons with adenosine receptors, which promotes falling asleep.
It’s not the meetings that are useless, it’s the lack of meaning and purpose that makes them boring. It is therefore necessary to capture the attention by soliciting the commitment of the participants. By using visual data rather than speeches. And to avoid boredom, it is therefore better to hold a meeting of twenty minutes maximum with an agenda communicated in advance and a two-minute blackout after ten minutes. This strengthens the brain to pay attention.
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Finally, you have to think about speaking turns to make this discussion time as participatory as possible. All this while limiting the number of meetings to one every fortnight or two at most every month. Each meeting gives rise to decision-making, a factor in the return of meaning. With regard to videoconferences, the principle is the same: it should be brief and not exceed thirty minutes. Do not exceed the number of guests, eight at most to allow everyone to express themselves briefly. And above all, make it simple by meeting for a single subject.
Beyond the human and financial cost represented by the meetings, this freed up time significantly enhances each of the employees. They will be able to concentrate on their core business and no longer run in a flight of time which generates this feeling of uselessness, boredom, when it does not cause procrastination for initially priority tasks and replaced by acute meetingitis .