Unrealities

Valuable Meetings

One of the reasons why I stopped working was because I didn’t want to go to any more meetings.

A meeting is basically a way to hide from your actually responsibilities and pretend to help make important decisions.

With the world working from home, meetings are becoming routine. You have to make sure your video is on to ensure that you are giving complete focus to a meeting that may not even require your input. You need to show face to make sure you prove your value to the company.

Wasted.us

About five years ago my company had a hack-a-thon. I took the opportunity to create a website (now removed due to cheapness and shame of the code quality) that would track how much money a meeting was wasting the company.

You would enter in the number of people in the meeting, their average salary and then press start. You’d watch the dollars go up like a flip clock.

It was a simple website made in a day, but my colleagues would continue to reference it and bring it up during large meetings.

Now of course saying that every meeting is a complete was of time is harsh, but wasted.us added the idea that you could also “checkout” of a meeting. To signal you were not paying attention or not needed for this meeting. If enough people checked out, then you would just end the meeting.

The Next Level

First things first, we need a sense for how many meetings we are actually having every day. I remember looking at my boss’s calendar and seeing literally every hour of the day booked and multiple double bookings.

Why not get some analytics on who is in these meetings and how valuable they are? This could be done in many ways. Have anonymous exit surveys after the meeting to determine if these recurring meetings should continue. Use a Chaos Monkey to remove meetings and if no one says anything, leave them dead. Use calendar software to limit number of meetings, duration of meetings or number of participants.

People need to be aware of what percentage of their day is doing what. It’s easy to get wrapped up in something and sometimes that’s actually more valuable than the other meetings you have scheduled. Sometimes is significantly less valuable.

Let’s Get Scary

So I know everyone hates facial recognition… but…

What if video conferencing software actually had an “engagement” metric?

Ohh, you mean so schools could tell when kids aren’t paying attention and punish them?!

– No

So businesses could fire employees that weren’t engaged during meetings?!

– No

I want to be able to track people’s visual engagement for each meeting. You could even generate statistics for each person to create better baselines. This could then turn into an anonymous statistic for an engagement score of the meeting. I then want to see how this number changes throughout the length of the meeting.

Maybe you find the first couple minutes of a meeting are unproductive because people are waiting for others. Maybe you learn all meetings over a certain length lose engagement. Or maybe meetings hosted by certain people or teams are more productive.

You would need to create a tool that doesn’t just visually analyze each user, but possibly randomly survey the audience on their engagement throughout the meeting.

I want to make meetings better.

But I still don’t want to work.

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