business meetings

Business Meetings



ROI place (2) newsletter
title improve lead/led/led (2)
willing comment in the first place
waste exception face-to-face
pre- whether back in the day
guess decade accomplish
distant add (2) round-trip
local no matter ride/rode/ridden
MIT in person down the block
fee plus (3) consistently
morale optimal not even then
cite block (2) minimum
as to conclude simulation
gain senseless maximum
weight concise period (3)
fill up pertinent suspicion
opine overall death knell
hefty agenda report (2)
worth compare come out of (2)



By Robert B, commercial writer

Business Meetings

The other day, I got an e-newsletter with the lead article titled, “How to Improve ROI from Your Business Meetings.”

And my immediate thought was: that’s easy — DON’T have business meetings in the first place. Period!

In my nearly four decades in business, I have yet to find a bigger waste of time than face-to-face meetings . . . with the possible exception of social media.

Pre-Internet Days

Back in the day, pre-email, pre-internet, and pre-Skype, I did go to some meetings with local clients here in my home state of New Jersey.

For out-of-state clients, we typically had the meeting over the phone.

And guess what?


I consistently found that we could accomplish the same thing in a 20 to 30-minute phone call with the distant clients . . . as I did in a two-hour face-to-face meeting with local clients.

And two hours was the actual meeting time. When you added in the round-trip car ride — an hour each way — the meeting took four hours, or half-a-day of my time.

So now, no matter whether the client is down the block or in Australia, my meeting is via email, phone or Skype.

I just don’t meet with people in person, unless they are willing to pay a hefty fee to do so. And often not even then.

Facebook Comments

My Facebook friend Paul writes: “Business meetings are the death knell of profitability, productivity, and employee morale. It’s senseless.”

Another FB friend, Bobby, cites a study about meetings from the Organizational Development group at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

This computer-simulation study concluded that the optimum number of people to have in a business meeting for maximum productivity is 1.3, which can mean just me — if I’ve gained some weight!

Doug comments, “Business meetings should be concise and pertinent. And if they fill up someone’s calendar, my suspicion increases as to their necessity and value.”

Jeff opines: “The bigger the organization, the less productive the meetings in my overall experience.”

Julie says this about meetings: “If you take an hour’s salary for each person in the room plus the cost of someone making an agenda and a report and then compare that with what came out of it, you’d have to ask yourself why you did that. It’s usually not worth it.”

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1. The writer has complicated rules for having effective business meetings. True or false?

2. Does he think in-person meetings are productive and useful?

3. For the writer, were business meetings in the past (before the internet) completely different, largely different, partially different, slightly different, similar to, or the exact same as the present? How did he have meetings?

4. Were there any difference between face-to-face meetings and those meetings over the phone?

5. Today, he virtually never has face-to-face meetings; he only communicates, negotiates and deals with people remotely. Is this right or wrong?

6. Is the writer alone in his assessment, or do others agree with him? What do they say in terms of corporations, time and money?

7. How should meetings be conducted?


A. I have to attend meetings in my company or organization. Yes or no? What do they involve? How do you feel about them?

B. Do you do all, most, many, some, a few or none of your meetings in person (face-to-face)? Approximately what percent are face-to-face and what percent are via telecommunications?

C. Do some, many, most or all companies, organizations and institutions insist on having all meetings and negotiations face-to-face?

D. Is it possible to conduct all meetings and negotiations remotely? Are there situations where face-to-face meetings are necessary?

E. What will happen in the future?

F. What should people and organizations do?

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