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The Surprising Science of Meetings: How You Can Lead Your Team to Peak Performance
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The Surprising Science of Meetings: How You Can Lead Your Team to Peak Performance

3.70  ·  Rating details ·  423 ratings  ·  57 reviews
A recent estimate suggests that employees endure a staggering 55 million meetings a day in the United States. This tremendous time investment yields only modest returns. No organization made up of human beings is immune from the all-too-common meeting gripes: those that fail to engage, those that inadvertently encourage participants to tune out, and those that blatantly di ...more
Hardcover, 192 pages
Published January 2nd 2019 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published 2018)
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Average rating 3.70  · 
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 ·  423 ratings  ·  57 reviews

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Jun 30, 2019 rated it liked it
My takeaways:
1. Schedule not-one-hour meetings. 48 minutes or a 15 minute huddle are good alternatives to the 1 hr meeting. People are less likely to be late to a shorter meeting and have more time to get to their next task.
2. Assign participants to different topics covered on the agenda and give them enough heads up to prepare. Don’t reuse the same agenda — topics should be customized every meeting. The book provides a nice agenda template.
3. The more complicated the meeting task is, the few
Steve Wiggins
Oct 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
I’m reluctantly in the corporate world. A qualified academic, I began my career in the higher education classroom with nary a thought of a “fall back.” When one became necessary I entered the business sector again, this time as an “over-qualified” editor. I read Steven G. Rogelberg’s The Surprising Science of Meetings as a kind of learning exercise (strictly off the clock, you understand). I found it amazing that you could be an academic specializing in meetings. For my doctorate I had to learn ...more
Sara G
It was not very surprising.
Iman Shabani
This was informative enough, and gave me some pointers to go on with.

I can't say the whole book feels that way, but if you are someone who needs to attend/lead meetings, it's definitely a useful read.
Dec 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
I’m in a ton of meetings during the work day and I often say “when am I supposed to actually do my work?”. This books provides evidence-based solutions for meeting leaders. Looking forward to working with my team to improve meetings.
Kevin Kelloway
Jan 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book should be required reading for every manager or for everyone who has to hold meetings at work. Drawing on an extensive body of research Steve Rogelberg has written an eminently practical guide for improving meetings in organizations. The book is replete with practical advice, tools and tips. Its an easy read (I read it on a 1.5 hour flight) but is a book that I will return to in the future.
Cristine Braddy
May 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Nice quick overview on leading meetings more effectively. I took home quite a few ideas from this one.
Jun 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is the greatest book on meetings! If you're buying one book on meetings, this should be the one. Considering buying multiple copies and requiring my direct reports to read! ...more
Doug Roberts
Dec 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Helpful and actionable. I could have wished for more nerdy science but that may be only because I haven't dug through the ridiculously extensive bibliography. ...more
Inka Partanen
Jan 27, 2020 rated it it was ok
I have attended thousands of meetings and still I thought this book with it’s scientific approach could offer me something new or at least some food for thought. It did not.

It is, however, a comprehensive list of techniques and methods for better meetings so if you need ideas or haven’t ”seen it all”, have a look. For more expreienced meeting-goers I just recommend to keep learning from others and from your mistakes, this book probably won’t do much more.
Sharon Summerfield
Aug 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book should be a must read for anyone who attends, plans and facilitates meetings. Great suggestions captured in a succinct way. I like how the author had a summary at the end of each chapter and included charts and tools to use to improve meetings. We know meetings are here to stay in our professional and personal lives. I enjoyed the idea from Andy Grove, former CEO of Intel, referring to loss of time to stealing office equipment.

This thought from the book, represented for me how we can h
Feb 11, 2020 rated it liked it
There are a lot of meetings in my life, and I've taken a lot of professional development about meeting development and facilitation so if there's a refresher or a new perspective, I'd like to be on top of it. This book rehashed much of what I already knew but if your group has meetings that are less than productive, this might be good for you.

The stuff I already knew: agenda purpose, the right people at the meeting, you don't always need an hour, don't have a static agenda, it's hard to connect
Ganesh Sree
Dec 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Was recommended this book by a friend. It was a very quick read. The first question that popped up into my mind was - "Is there a science to meetings?" . But as I was quickly devouring the pages, it augured upon me, most of the pains of meetings are something I have experienced as a part of corporate life. But why didn't I think of the ways to address it, especially as it seemed so apparent when the author put it. Maybe just a small matter of the author addressing it in an empirical fashion. I f ...more
Food Is
Aug 19, 2019 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Raja Gopal
Oct 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
Some people intuitively conduct meetings well. This book is a life saver for the rest of us.

The author discusses the following topics - preparation of an agenda, meeting time, number of attendees, how to start a meeting, etc. He backs them up with scientific evidence as the title suggests.

I have been conducting meetings for a few years now. I do circulate an agenda in advance. But it is generally the same for successive meetings. Only the date changes. After having read this book, I should be a
Cari Borchert
May 16, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fic
Read this as a work assignment, and honestly, was reading the "takeaways" (ie cliff notes!) at the end of the chapters about halfway through, rather than dissecting the entire chapter. To me, this was mostly common sense - basically when you're running a meeting, don't do the things you hate yourself and that everyone complains about. There is always something to learn, however, and there were a few things I will try differently and/or shake things up from time to time, but overall, I didn't fee ...more
Sep 14, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars. I was picking up a laboratory managerial position, and really enjoyed their recommendations and innovations for meetings, and really more broadly about team leadership. I will say, it got a bit dull throughout (I nearly stopped about 3/4 of the way through) - but perhaps that is partially my own fault, as I am more accustomed to works of fiction! ;)

I read it in Kindle form - I wonder whether a print version of the book would have been better for me for either a more piecemeal approac
Susana Pierce
Oct 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
I learned about this book through the the author’s inclusion in the Freakonomics podcast episode “How to make meetings less terrible” (Ep. 389 from 9/18/19. Easily readable with data and suggestions, it was an interesting read. My role is not the one that Dr. Rogelberg is aiming at for an audience, but I found some advice to carry into my job as a teacher (what is class, but a meeting that happens every day at the same time with an agenda, status updates, etc.?). I will try to pass this book on ...more
Brett VanDaalwyk
Jul 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
Overall this was an informative book that makes you consider how you and your organization typically run meetings. There is some good advice on meeting length, attendance, treating the meeting like an event (which requires planning to go off smoothly), and new meeting tactics to try (for example, multiple facets of silence). This is a relatively short read that I’d consider worth it if you’ve not thought about how meetings are run before (and even if you have, there’s nothing wrong with some rei ...more
Ogi Ogas
Jun 04, 2019 rated it it was ok
My ratings of books on Goodreads are solely a crude ranking of their utility to me, and not an evaluation of literary merit, entertainment value, social importance, humor, insightfulness, scientific accuracy, creative vigor, suspensefulness of plot, depth of characters, vitality of theme, excitement of climax, satisfaction of ending, or any other combination of dimensions of value which we are expected to boil down through some fabulous alchemy into a single digit.
Sep 01, 2019 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Paul Miller
Oct 02, 2019 rated it liked it
If you've never read anything about meetings, you will find this quick read full of surprises... BUT if you have, it will simply remind you of familiar territory which nets to be purposeful in IF you meet, WHEN you meet, HOW you meet....It's an experience you're orchestrating. The world doesn't need more or less meetings - just needs better ones. ...more
Dinesh Cherupalla
Jan 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A quick and insightful read on how to make the most of the necessary evil of meetings. Common sense practices like having shorter meetings, ordering agenda items with the most important things first, and strategies for keeping things on track make this an excellent guide that you’d want to keep on your corporate office desk
Dr. Bader Alzaid Altraiji
Like many business books, this book can be easily summarised in 20 pages essay or less.
The word 'science' is quite deceiving; citing old literature and forcing it into the book isn't my understanding of being scientific!
If it is not for the meeting tools at the end of the book, I would have rated it two stars!
J. Elise
Jan 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: meetings
Excellent overview of current research and actionable advice to meeting leaders that get beyond the usual suspects (use an agenda, keep the discussion moving, etc) to techniques that make a substantive difference
Mar 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Meetings would be vastly more effective if every facilitator read and implemented the strategies in this book. A number of the items you hear everywhere; there were quite a few that made it worth the investment though.
Michael Wolcott
May 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An excellent synthesis of the research on meetings with tips that anyone can implement that go beyond the standard recommendations of meeting time improvement, etc. the writing is clear and concise and it is overall a quick read that benefits anyone and everyone who plans meetings (i.e., all of us)
Jun 05, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
We read this for work and, honestly, for a book about meetings, it was surprisingly interesting. I especially nerded out over the psychological aspects of meetings and why individuals do what they do in meetings/how they feel about meetings.
Sarah Frances
Jun 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An approachable read with science-based, realistic recommendations for effective meetings. Would recommend to everyone who facilitates meetings. I'll be applying this content to my work and community involvement and loaning this book to my coworkers. ...more
Felipe CZ
Aug 30, 2019 rated it liked it
Most meetings are expensive and time-consuming. To transform boring unproductive meetings, try making them shorter, with effective agendas, more positive and less talkative, with a shorter list of no more than 7 people, dispelling negative energy, and prioritizing relevant topics. Useful tips.
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“Andy Grove, the former CEO of Intel, was passionate about seeking to improve meetings. He once wrote, “Just as you would not permit a fellow employee to steal a piece of office equipment worth $2,000, you shouldn’t let anyone walk away with the time of his fellow managers.” A poorly conducted and unnecessary meeting is indeed a form of time theft, a theft that can be prevented.” 0 likes
“It Starts with the Goals of the Meeting In the next sections, I present a series of suggestions and techniques that should help you decide whom to invite to your meetings. To start with the obvious, the meeting leader should consider the goals of the meeting. For each meeting goal, the leader should ponder the following questions: 1. Who has the information and knowledge about the topic in question? 2. Who are the key decision makers and important stakeholders relevant to the issue? 3. Who are the people who need the information that is going to be discussed? 4. Who are the people who will implement any decision or act on the issue? These questions can help you identify the relevant and necessary parties but still may result in a meeting with too many attendees.” 0 likes
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