Is Low Engagement Killing Meeting Productivity?

A new report reveals growing frustration around low meeting engagement: Business leaders state that participants do not speak up, engage, or provide input enough during meetings.

As companies re-evaluate meeting policies and their role in the workplace, a new State of Meetings Report by Mentimeter found the majority of survey respondents (72%) agree that meetings are not dead. Further, nearly all of the 4,000 people surveyed find meetings to be an effective (96%) and productive (94%) way to move work initiatives forward.

However, the results also point to growing frustration around low meeting engagement, with the majority of leaders (52%) stating that participants do not speak up, engage, or provide input enough during meetings.

Meeting Productivity
94% of business leaders say meetings are a productive way to move work forward (Graphic: Business Wire)

The results show that 62% of respondents correlate strong meeting engagement with higher levels of productivity, and 49% cite that meetings are doomed to fail if leaders cannot incite engagement from the very beginning. The report also reveals that leaders may not be offering ample opportunities for participants to engage, or opening up the floor to discussion, with more than a third (38%) of respondents admitting they are the most talkative person in a meeting.

“It’s clear from our findings that leaders view meetings as a powerful productivity tool, and that they are here to stay,” said Tobias Porserud, General Manager of North America at Mentimeter, an audience engagement platform (AEP) used by 95% of Fortune 500 companies.

“Lack of engagement is killing productivity. It’s critical that for meetings to be the most productive, leaders need to move away from the old way of running meetings of talking at participants, and embrace strategies that practice inclusive, transparent, collaborative decision-making, harnessing the collective intelligence of the team.”

— Tobias Porserud, General Manager of North America, Mentimeter

“However, lack of engagement is killing productivity,” Porserud continued. “It’s critical that for meetings to be the most productive, leaders need to move away from the old way of running meetings of talking at participants, and embrace strategies that practice inclusive, transparent, collaborative decision-making, harnessing the collective intelligence of the team.”

The report also found that:

  • Heightened distraction is hampering meeting engagement, with 60% of respondents admitting that they have not shaken bad habits from the pandemic workplace. More than a third of participants admit to checking social media and texting friends and co-workers during meetings, about a quarter admit to shopping online and nearly a fifth of respondents say they are guilty of watching sports or a show during meetings. More than one in ten admit they have even slept during remote meetings when the camera is off.
  • The rising wave of Generation Z leaders is more introverted and distracted than previous generations, with nearly half (46%) of the respondents identifying as introverts. This group is most likely to be texting (42.7%) or checking social media or personal email during meetings (44.6%) than other generations.
  • Respondents (63%) suggest leaders should encourage engagement by offering non-verbal (47%) or anonymous (45%) ways to participate through integrating fun and interactive tools (44%). Worth noting, nearly half of Gen Z and Millennial respondents cited having anonymous ways to react and respond to ideas as a helpful tool for engagement.
  • Sixty-two percent of respondents note that having multiple ways to engage in meetings would make them more productive. These engagements include likes, comments, reactions, polls and more.
Meeting Productivity
Higher engagement would make meetings more effective, say business leaders (Graphic: Business Wire)

 

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“It’s time to unlearn bad workplace habits lingering from the pandemic, and rethink the traditional role of meetings as not only a place for updates and box-checking but to create an engaging and productive culture where every voice is heard,” said Johnny Warström, co-founder and CEO of Mentimeter.

“Leaders need to find more opportunities for meeting participants to engage, adapting to the needs of younger leaders who are more introverted and distracted than ever,” Warström added. “Using meeting tools that are geared towards increasing engagement, thereby becoming a more effective leader and improving business outcomes.”

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