Bad meetings can follow delegates out of the conference door, affecting future mood and behaviour, according to a study by Dr Steven Rogelberg, Professor of Psychology, Management, and Organisational Science at UNC Charlotte. The professor worked in partnership with the interactive presentation platform, Mentimeter on the UK survey on attitudes and behaviours of meeting participants and leaders in the UK. They claim it to be the largest to-date to explore the phenomenon of Meeting Recovery Syndrome: the concept that poor meetings negatively affect participants outside of a meeting, as well as during it.
The study surveyed 1,000 respondents and found British meeting leaders to be worryingly underprepared, with only 13% of Britons feeling their meeting leaders have a compelling plan. 63% of Britons indicate that less than half of meetings are properly planned.
Just 39% of Britons find leaders to frequently conduct meetings in a positive mood. This is particularly concerning given that 73% of Britons feel that the mood of the leader affects the overall mood of the meeting.
A similar percentage (38%) of Britons find meeting leaders poor at including participants’ input during meetings.
Over half (54%) of Britons find that a poorly conducted meeting negatively affects their productivity afterwards, and 53% need to talk to colleagues to refocus following poor meetings.
UK regional variations were noted, with Welsh meeting leaders most inclusive of participants; Scottish leaders less positive in meetings (although Scottish workers are also less sensitive to bad meetings); and Northern Irish leaders less likely to plan meetings compellingly.
Meeting Recovery Syndrome (MRS) is the idea that attendees of poor meetings don’t shed the bad experience at the door; it sticks with them and negatively affects them outside of the meeting.
Johnny Warström, Mentimeter CEO and Co-Founder, comments: “This study, undertaken with one of the world’s leading academics in the field of management science, has highlighted some troubling issues. It is a serious concern that in Britain – a world-leader in business management and corporate training – so many workers are critical of the preparedness and performance of meeting leaders.
“At Mentimeter, we create technology in order to drive inclusivity and interaction in meetings. We have all experienced meetings where the leader talks at a disengaged audience without asking them for their feedback or input. This study demonstrates that a great deal needs to be done to make meetings, which should be at the heart of business practice, a positive, productive, and efficient exercise.”
Dr Rogelberg adds: “The results highlight a problem I have seen in my other research – leaders are just not recognising their essential role in meeting success. Leader preparation, planning, and even the mood they bring into the meeting truly matters. It shapes the culture of the meeting, inclusivity, and effectiveness. Perhaps most importantly this research highlights the fact that bad meetings are not just left at the doors of the conference rooms. They stick with attendees. They affect productivity outside of the meeting. And, further yet, even more time is invested in ruminating with others about the bad meeting experience.”