NH Learning Solutions Blog

Mismanaged Meetings or Conference Calls Disrupt Productivity

Posted: Aug 15, 2017

Mismanaged Meetings or Conference Calls Disrupt Productivity

Sometimes conference calls are vital and often truly productive; however, poorly managed or unnecessary meetings can absolutely disrupt the natural rhythm of a workday and could lead to hours of productivity loss.

Of course, every business is different. Some organizers run amazing and productive meetings. Notes are taken. Questions are addressed. Everyone's engaged. Action items are distributed. Overall, the meeting offered clarity and resolve. However, for the great majority, that's not the case.

According to several studies, most employees attend 62 meetings per month (on average), and consider 31 of the hours spent in them wasted. Forty-one percent complained that meetings were the biggest time-waster in the office!

Does Part or All of this Scenario Sound Familiar to You?

  1. You are emailed a meeting/conference call invite, sometimes forwarded to you, without any real knowledge of the topic to be discussed other than a vague subject.
  2. There is no agenda attached to the meeting invite, and it is almost always 60 minutes.
  3. You log into the conference call on time, while the group waits around for about 3-5 minutes for the other attendees to arrive.
  4. One or two people have audio and/or other technical issues.
  5. When everyone else arrives, the group spends 2-3 minutes talking about topics unrelated to work.
  6. When the meeting finally starts, the group spends another 2-5 minutes discussing what the meeting is about.
  7. Several attendees spend the whole meeting working on other matters, not giving the group their full attention.
  8. Someone in a senior management role arrives very late, and the meeting is put on hold to bring this new arrival up-to-speed.
  9. One or two attendees dominate the entire conversation or other matters are brought up and discussed that have no bearing on the topic at hand.
  10. The meeting finally adjourns because of lapsed time or because one or more attendees have to leave for their next meeting.
  11. Since the meeting left several unresolved questions, you all agree to have another meeting at a later time.
  12. No notes or action items are sent over to the attendees via email.
  13. Hours later you accept a “follow-up” request, which again does not contain an agenda, nor a recap of the previous meeting.

"Most meetings are either not necessary, or they are so poorly organized and conducted that they achieve only a fraction of their purpose." says Ramon Greenwood, senior career counselor at "As a result, they burn up a lot of resources that could be spent for useful purposes."

Too many meetings could also lead to total disengagement. Consider this:  A 2014 study from Intercall, one of the largest international conference call companies, found that more than 60% of conference call attendees were doing other work or sending emails during meetings. If you're running a meeting where half your team is disengaged, something is very wrong. (See all findings in below chart).

What Are Attendees Doing During Conference Calls?



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About the Presenter: Eric P. Bloom is the President of Manager Mechanics ( and the Executive Director of The IT Management & Leadership Institute (, a #1 Amazon bestselling author, and keynote speaker. Click the banner above to access the webinar recording

Closing Thoughts

The modern worker is more and more mobile, and often employees are in several different geographies, so meetings are essential, and it’s become normal to spend half of your workday on a conference call. Still, The Wall Street Journal suggests that 80% of the time spent in meetings could be eliminated just by following a detailed agenda. Essentially, conference calls and meetings are only as strong as those who run it. Every meeting doesn’t have to be a home run, but they should not be a major contributor to productivity loss.

Lastly, if you would like to share your thoughts on this matter, please leave a comment below. Our readers would love to hear your opinion.

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