Work meetings are the source of much derision among employees because of their tendency to drag on and incorporate endless details. While some complaints about group meetings are warranted, these types of meetings also confer many advantages, particularly in an office environment where employees or project partners rarely see one another. Understanding the advantages of disadvantages of meeting as a group can help you use meetings to your advantage.
Better Collaborative Options
One of the main advantages of group meetings is that they give employees the chance to plan projects as a team, making it easier to hone in on key objectives and devise a master task list. Planning as a group also gives employees the chance to get perspectives and feedback they might not otherwise get, potentially improving a project's outcome. For example, when a group of reporters and photographers meet to discuss team coverage of a story, they may come up with a more coherent strategy than they otherwise would working independently.
Improved Communication Between Employees
More communication between employees, particularly for those who telecommute or are regularly out of the office, is one of the advantages of meeting face to face. This increase in communication can make it easier and more efficient to discuss ideas and plan projects because everyone can pitch in at the same time. It can also help new employees adapt to corporate culture, and creates mentoring opportunities and the potential for relationships and new collaborative efforts.
New Perspectives on Work
Another of the pros group meetings is that they offer opportunities to gain new perspectives on work. A copywriter, for example, may get inspiration for an ad campaign from something someone says during a group meeting. This might not happen in a one-on-one meeting, where only one other voice is involved. These new perspectives can increase a business' effectiveness and help it develop new strategies it might not otherwise consider.
Social Challenges Faced
Not everyone thrives in a group meeting. Some employees may censor themselves in group meetings, either out of shyness or a lack of confidence speaking in front of many different people. This is less of an issue in one-on-one meetings, where participants are involved in a more intimate exchange of ideas.
Group meetings can also be challenging for certain demographic groups. For example, Forbes reports that a 2014 study found that women are more likely to be interrupted. Group meetings may inhibit a woman's ability to communicate, particularly if several participants interrupt her.
Impact on Time Management
When many competing voices try to communicate at the same time, meetings tend to take longer and accomplish less than one-on-one sessions. Sudden changes in the meeting's agenda, as well as small talk, can also make meetings run on too long. If a meeting goes longer than scheduled, participants may fall behind on other projects or miss other important meetings or appointments.
Van Thompson is an attorney and writer. A former martial arts instructor, he holds bachelor's degrees in music and computer science from Westchester University, and a juris doctor from Georgia State University. He is the recipient of numerous writing awards, including a 2009 CALI Legal Writing Award.