Gauteng Business News

Send  Share  RSS  Twitter  08 May 2012

BUSINESS MEETINGS: Business Meetings Can Reduce Intelligence


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According to a study by Virginia Tech's Carilion School of Medicine and Research Institute, business meetings can diminish intelligence. “In any hour long meeting, the most important time is the first five minutes and the last five minutes. Pretty much everything in-between is filling this space,” says Simon Campbell-Young, CEO of Phoenix Software. “However dynamic people might feel, full to the brim with fantastic ideas, five or ten minutes into any meeting is enough to knock pretty much all of that out of them as the group rapidly descends to the level of meeting speak and meeting thought.”

According to the research from Virginia Tech, an assessment of people's intelligence before and during group activity or meetings revealed "dramatic drops" in the ability of some of them to solve problems compared to when they were working on their own, suggesting social feedback had a "significant effect" on their performance. The study also suggested people were inclined to perform less well in groups if they thought there were others in the group that were smarter than them.

"You may joke about how committee meetings make you feel brain dead, but these findings suggest that they may make you act brain dead as well," says Campbell-Young. “In other words, meetings may well be counter-productive for a lot of employees.”

This is added incentive, he says, to leverage the power of modern technology and work smarter, not harder. “Most people try to spend more time working, but time is only one of the factors that determines how productive you are. By setting up an environment where tools such as mobile phones, laptops and other technology to automate and enhance capabilities, employees can become far more productive than when in a business meeting.”

People Are More Productive When Working Alone Rather than in Meetings

He adds that most people understand the benefit of using technology to accomplish “big” things like sending a personalised letter to 10 000 people, but not as many people understand the benefit of using technology to make you more efficient in small things. “Technology only makes you more efficient if it saves you time. It is easy to get a false sense of productivity when engaging in a meeting or using a computer on tasks that could be handled more quickly without using a computer. You must constantly evaluate what you are doing to make sure it is being done in the most efficient manner,” says Campbell-Young.

“Another potential pitfall of technology is the tendency to do things that are unnecessary. If you spend 5 or 10 minutes picking the font for a letter to your bank, your computer hasn’t helped make you more productive, as well as the productivity wasted in meetings. Make sure you use technology to do things that are necessary instead of doing things just because technology makes them possible. Most people never really evaluate their own productivity. By simply examining your habits in meetings and alone, you can significantly increase the amount you accomplish even without increasing the amount of time you spend working,” he concludes.

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