Management Skills

Why you should get meeting feedback (every single time!)

6 min read

There’s a cost to bad meetings.

Let’s say your startup has 250 employees. Fortune suggests that the average person spends roughly 15% of their time at work in unproductive meetings. Using basic salary estimates, that works out to $3 million lost annually, due to bad meetings.

Don’t believe us? Try it out for yourself with your own numbers. Input the number of employees at your company (or team), and the median salary to see what bad meetings are costing you:

 

No company can afford that. 💸

And that’s just the economics of it. The more important cost is the general productivity and happiness of your team – nothing is more soul-sucking than losing an hour (or two, or three) of your day to a meeting that’s poorly planned or badly run.

And the impact on employees goes well beyond the wasted meeting time. Why do you think Twitter is filled with employees complaining non-stop about how much they hate meetings? 👉👉

But here’s the thing: cutting out meetings isn’t the solution.

Well-run, effective meetings play a crucial role in collaboration and communication at the office. You just need to cut out the unnecessary ones – and fix the unproductive, but necessary ones. And how do you do that? Meeting feedback. 🙌 

Taking the time to get feedback after each and every meeting can have a huge impact on your team’s productivity and morale.

Here are four reasons why you should collect meeting feedback, every single time:

1. Collecting meeting feedback helps to cut out unnecessary meetings

Don’t get us wrong – we love meetings. But if meetings aren’t 100% necessary, you shouldn’t be having them. They waste time, drain your team and interrupt their productivity. That last one is key: research shows the average worker takes 23 minutes and 15 seconds to get back to a task after an interruption. So, any interruption (a.k.a. meeting!) should be worth it.

The tricky thing is knowing whether or not a meeting is necessary or not. You can catch some warning signs beforehand (no stated meeting goal, vague invite, lengthy list of invitees), but the best way to identify an unnecessary meeting is to get feedback from the people that took part in it.

By asking each team member for meeting feedback, you can start to see patterns. Are meetings being held to share information the team already knows? Are recurring meetings happening too often, so there’s nothing new to report? Are the wrong people being invited?

A lot of these frustrations are things you won’t be able to identify on your own – you need to ask your team. Meeting feedback will give you that intel – and help you to confidently cut out the unneeded meetings from your team’s schedule.

2. Collecting meeting feedback fixes unproductive – but necessary – meetings

Sometimes a bad meeting can’t be cut out. There are a lot of meetings that are crucial to a workplace (like, say, one-on-ones) – but they can still be completely unproductive time-wasters. These meetings don’t need to be cancelled. They need to be fixed. 

And before you can fix them, you need to identify their flaws. Again, that’s where meeting feedback comes in. And it’s with these types of meetings that feedback is absolutely critical to the process, every single time. You’ll learn straight from the meeting participants themselves what made that meeting soul-draining – or even better, what made that meeting amazing. You can use negative feedback to tweak the meeting structure, the agenda, the location…whatever it is that is taking this useful meeting and transforming it into a waste of time.

And the reverse is true, too. If you get really good meeting feedback, you can use that intel to fix other meetings that are struggling. If you find something that worked really well in a meeting, you’ll want to hold on to that positive meeting feedback, and potentially apply it as a best practice to other meetings in the future.

3. Collecting meeting feedback helps to eliminate bad habits

We can tell you the basic rules of meeting etiquette: be on time, don’t interrupt, don’t veer off-topic. But It’s still really, really easy to develop bad meeting habits. And it’s not always so easy to see them.

Meeting feedback can bring these issues to the spotlight. Because how else would a team member feel comfortable bringing up how Will always bring his pungent lunch into the meeting room? Or how Ellen stays glued to her computer screen? Or how Jason hogs the floor? Or how Max never speaks up? 😬

In other words: meeting feedback gives the team a forum to talk about what people are doing that is derailing the meeting. After all, people are unique – the “meeting rules” that might work for one team might not help another team have effective meetings. That’s why it’s so important to keep an ongoing dialogue of meeting feedback going.

4. Collecting meeting feedback checks in on your team

As a manager, you’re always trying to tap into the pulse of your team. How are they feeling? Are they happy? What are they complaining about at the bar after work? 🍻

There’s no shortcut to knowing how your team is feeling – that comes from regular one-on-ones and ongoing feedback and communication. And, as part of that, meeting feedback. Because meetings are such a big part of your team’s work week, they’re a great way to gain intel into how they’re feeling – either as a team, or as individual contributors.

For example, if feedback for a recurring team meeting you lead tends to be positive, and then one team member always rates the meeting low, it might be a good opportunity to check in with that team member to see if they want to talk about anything. Or even if the whole team’s feedback is negative even after you implement tweaks to improve the meeting, you might have a morale problem to address. Either way, you’re getting the intel you need to improve the situation.

Have we convinced you that meeting feedback is worth your team’s time? Here’s a handy infographic to help you remember: 

Why you should get meeting feedback