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[Infographic] The Irony Of Meetings

It’s official – we hate meetings. But we need them.

WebEx recently released the findings of some original research on how coworkers communicate and interact. According to the study, even though knowledge workers say that meetings are their least favorite form of communicating, they acknowledge that brainstorming and personally interacting with co-workers is when they feel most effective.

“No one will ever see a bumper sticker that says ‘I wish I was in a meeting’,” says Deborah Holstein, senior director for online in Cisco’s Collaboration Software Group. “Yet meetings are the currency of our working life. We have all experienced being a victim of a bad meeting — one which is poorly run or without key people in the room. But, as this research shows, it is through meetings that relationships are built and true innovation happens.”

The results are from a quantitative U.S.-only, Web-based survey fielded in March 2011 to 803 final respondents from a panel of knowledge workers. Among the findings:

•       Smartphone use is becoming prevalent — 39 percent of respondents report using one for an hour or more on an average work day

•       Meetings are far less preferred than emails for interacting with others

•       Meetings take up a lot of our time every day — nine out of 10 respondents preferred any other form of communication (email, phone, IM etc.) over meetings

•       Interactions related to building relationships and conducting sales are vital

•       Half of all meetings are ad-hoc/spontaneous

And here’s an infographic on the findings, including some tips to make the best use of those meetings:


Daniel Goh is the founder and chief editor of Young | Upstarts, as well as an F&B entrepreneur. Daniel has a background in public relations, and is interested in issues in entrepreneurship, small business, marketing, public relations and the online space. He can be reached at daniel [at] youngupstarts [dot] com.

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  • Jerrold McGrath

    It’s a funny product of how we talk about things. When meetings are effective they cease to become ‘meetings’ and start becoming ‘work’. When they are non-productive they never graduate to ‘work’ and bring down the curve for meetings generally. Also a bit ironic that WebEx recommends using WebEx. Actually, that’s likely not irony. I was never terribly good at distinguishing. I also find it interesting that half of all meetings are ad hoc or spontaneous. I generally call ad hoc meetings “conversations” but perhaps I’m old fashioned.