British managers 'get more out of meetings'

Apr 21 2004 by Brian Amble Print This Article

British managers make better use of their time in meetings than their colleagues in France and Germany because they place more importance on sharing documents, sketching out ideas and viewing visual demonstrations.

Research carried out for Web communications provider WebEx looked at the meeting habits of business people in Germany, France and the UK and found that the most productive meetings involved the sharing of documents and visual information.

When asked what value meetings have in driving productivity, twice as many British managers (72 per cent) said that sharing documents in meetings was important. Sketching out ideas visually and running through visual demonstrations were also seen far more important by UK managers than by their French and German colleagues.

French and German managers both rated being able to see facial expression highly as key benefits of a meeting.

Almost half of UK managers rated socialising before or after the meeting, compared to a mere 14 per cent in France and 28 per cent in Germany.

UK managers were also keen to leave a meeting with a concrete result rather than just as action list.

Dr Cherry Taylor of Dynamic Markets, who carried out the research, said that the it highlighted a more sophisticated approach to meetings amongst UK managers. "

"Instead of presenting and reviewing data, greater productivity is being achieved by having everyone’s eyes on the same page working towards a common goal in a meeting."

WebEx’s Tony Gasson said: "UK managers are saying that, in meetings, "What you hear you forget, what you see, you remember, but what you do you will understand."

The survey also found that 'meeting overload' has become a real cause of stress in the workplace. The average European business professionals participates in an astonishing 559 meetings a year – that's 47 meetings a month, 12 a week, or 2 a day.

And whilst respondents recognised the value of regular meetings, they also highlighted the negative impact of frequent meetings on their lifestyles, with the main causes of stress being long journeys (cited by 58 per cent), being late (34 per cent), travel wiping out the rest of the day (29 per cent) and rail or road delays (28 per cent).