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Results of the ‘Satisfaction with Meetings’ Survey

At the end of 2023, we conducted a survey with 110 respondents. First of all, a big thank you to everyone who found the time and the will to contribute.

Number of meetings per week

Almost half of respondents (48.2%) have on average between 1 and 3 meetings per week. More than 10 meetings a week are held by 10.9% of respondents. 25.5% of respondents indicated that they have on average between 4 and 6 meetings per week and 15.5% indicated between 7 and 10 meetings per week.

Average number of participants in meetings

The main number of participants per meeting is either 3 to 5 (48.2% of respondents) or 5 to 10 (45.5% of respondents). One respondent indicated that there are mainly two people at a meeting and 6 respondents indicated that there are mainly more than 10 participants at meetings.

60% of respondents said that a specific expectation and agenda is sometimes sent to the meeting.

Only 10% of respondents indicated that a specific expectation and agenda is sent out before the meeting. 23.6% of respondents said that the expectation and agenda is rarely known and 6.4% said that it is never known.

70.9% of respondents said that no specific rules or methodologies are implemented to make the meeting more effective.

Only 29.1% of respondents indicated that rules and other methodologies are implemented in meetings to make the meeting effective. All respondents who answered that rules and methodologies are used were able to explain this answer and indicate which rules are followed:

  • A structured approach: the existence of a clear purpose and agenda, the role of a specific leader and a structured format for meetings are stressed. This includes setting clear objectives, preparing the agenda and following a certain methodology.
  • Participation and leadership: Meetings should give everyone the opportunity to have their say, under the leadership of a specific leader. The use of a hand-raising system for regular attendance is mentioned in virtual meetings.
  • Preparation and follow-up: Emphasis is placed on pre-meeting preparation, such as reviewing materials, and post-meeting follow-up, such as sharing meeting minutes and reiterating tasks and responsibilities.
  • Different meeting formats: Meetings differ in their format and structure. Some have a strict agenda and timetable, others are more open. Regular meetings, such as weekly team meetings or daily speed meetings, often follow a repetitive structure.
  • Adherence to time and agenda: Adherence to a fixed time and agenda is stressed. In the event of additional topics, new meetings are planned instead of extending the current ones.
  • Role of the meeting convener: The meeting convener is responsible for defining the purpose of the meeting, setting the agenda, assigning roles and expecting participants to be prepared.
  • Meeting types and methodologies: Different types of meetings (e.g. brainstorming, development meetings, Scrum sessions) require different approaches. Methodologies such as Scrum are mentioned for specific team meetings.
  • Documenting and taking decisions: recording decisions, taking minutes and ensuring that the objectives of the meeting are achieved and documented.
  • Variability and flexibility: Meetings can vary in their structure and approach, and their effectiveness often depends on the skills of the leader and the nature of the meeting.

42,7% of respondents prepare before the meeting

Although preparing for a meeting is considered important, only 54.5% of respondents do so before the meeting. A few respondents indicated that they never do. The reason given was that it is not done because meetings are unpredictable or the culture of the organisation is not conducive to it.

19.1% of respondents said that at the end of the meeting, they rarely know the clear next steps or the concrete results that the meeting has agreed on

Only 5.5% of respondents confirmed that concrete outcomes and steps are agreed at the end of the meeting. However, the majority of respondents (75.5%) indicated that, in general, concrete steps and results had been agreed.

Satisfaction with the meetings

To the question “Overall, how satisfied are you with the meetings you usually attend?” 7.3% of participants answered that they were very satisfied, suggesting that a small proportion of people find the current organisation and content of their meetings excellent. The proportion of participants who were somewhat satisfied was significant at 48.2%, indicating that a large proportion of people are generally satisfied with the quality of meetings, although there is room for improvement. A neutral attitude towards meetings was taken by 20.9% of respondents, which may indicate indifference or mixed experiences. Some dissatisfaction was found in 22.7% of respondents, indicating that quite a large number of people feel that meetings may not always be effective or satisfactory. There were only 0.9% who were very dissatisfied, a relatively small proportion but still a significant indicator that some participants are very dissatisfied with the current state of meetings. Overall, while most people seem to be at least somewhat satisfied with meetings, a significant proportion are dissatisfied or neutral, suggesting a need to improve the quality and effectiveness of meetings.

Main pain points

The results of the survey show that the main pain points related to meetings are the following: the majority of respondents (56%) highlighted the lack of a clear structure in meetings, which hampers the effectiveness of meetings. The lack of a clear purpose and agenda items was also identified as a major problem in meetings by 53% of respondents, suggesting that participants often feel disoriented. In addition, 55% of respondents found that meetings tend to run over the planned time, which can lead to a decrease in efficiency and frustration among participants. About half of the respondents (50%) pointed out that participants do not contribute enough in meetings, which may indicate passivity or insufficient involvement of participants. A further 42% of respondents mentioned that meeting topics and discussions are repetitive, which may indicate a need to update the content and format of meetings. Technical problems, such as poor internet connectivity, affect 32% of respondents, an important consideration in the age of digital communication. Similarly, 38% of respondents found that meetings involve participants who should not really be involved, which can lead to a waste of time and resources. Finally, 19% of respondents pointed out that meetings often lack a facilitator, which can lead to a lack of structure and purpose. Overall, these results show that there are a number of bottlenecks in the organisation and conduct of meetings that need attention and improvement.

What frustrates you the most?

Answers to the question “What frustrates you most about meetings?” highlight a number of common problems that participants face in meetings. One of the main sources of frustration is the length of meetings, which often exceeds the planned time. For many, the lack of preparation by the meeting organiser and the failure to take on the role of the meeting leader, which can lead to an aimless and unproductive meeting, is a problem.

It is also highlighted that meetings can be frustrating if they include participants whose involvement is not necessary or if the meeting becomes too dispersed. Unequal distribution of speaking time, where some participants dominate the discussion while others remain silent, is also a common problem.

It has also been mentioned that the content and topics of meetings can be repetitive, indicating a lack of planning and targeting. Technical problems, such as poor internet connectivity, are also highlighted as a confounding factor, especially in digital meetings. In addition, it is noted that meetings may lack clear structure and management, leading to distracted discussions and failure to achieve objectives.

In summary, the main problems with meetings appear to be related to a lack of objectives, ineffective engagement of participants, repetition of topics, technical problems and a lack of meeting management. These problems lead to frustration and dissatisfaction among meeting participants.

What makes a meeting a success?

The importance of speed and efficiency is stressed, where meetings are short and focused, avoiding unnecessary procrastination. Having a clear purpose and a structured agenda is also critical, as it helps meetings to stay focused and directed towards specific objectives.

Meeting management and organisation are also important. Effective management includes having an agenda, keeping to time limits and involving participants. The ability of the meeting leader to effectively manage and engage participants is essential.

Active involvement of participants and their preparation is another important aspect. Participants need to be familiar with the subject matter of the meeting and ready to contribute actively. Meetings must end with clear agreements, next steps and accountabilities, with the existence of minutes and a written record of decisions being critical.

In summary, effective and rewarding meetings require speed, clarity, structure, effective leadership, participant involvement and preparation, clear agreements and decisions, and a constructive atmosphere.

Read also the blog (in Estonian) for results and suggestions on how to improve meetings.

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