Internal meetings often not worth the time, finds survey

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Over half the people questioned in a survey for Alive Communications' Headlock service thought the time taken up by regular meetings was greater than the value actually gained from them. However, 83 per cent of respondents still felt regular internal meetings could actually help them do their job.

Reflecting on meeting behaviour, nearly one in five admitted they had started to make a point only to realise
halfway through they didn't actually know what they were talking about. 13 per cent claimed to have played 'buzz-word bingo', whilst 16 per cent had attempted to liven the proceedings by incorporating an unusual phrase (such as "I don't eat porridge"). Perhaps surprisingly, only 10 per cent had nodded off during a meeting.

39 per cent of respondents were frustrated by the fact that over half their meetings had no objectives, which nearly three quarters of respondents felt the meeting chairman was responsible for. Nearly a quarter of respondents said they spent over four hours every month in regular internal meetings.

For those who are unfamiliar, Buzz-word bingo (there are less polite terms for it) is based on regular bingo except numbers are replaced by overused business words and phrases which often occur in meetings. In responses from the survey, these included: blue sky, gap analysis, touch base, ball park figure, synergy, heads up, the bigger picture, branding, flag it, hit the ground running. Players each chose or are allocated a selection of words and phrases. The winner is the first to have their whole list spoken by participants in a meeting.

The unusual phrases game involves participants giving each other unusual phrases that must be worked into meetings, but not spotted by those not in the know. Respondents claim success with the following: I don't eat porridge, we need a big radiator of love, get off your horse and milk it, how should a jam sandwich be made?, how do you feed a monkey correctly whilst at the zoo?(

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17th Oct 2002 15:50

I was surprised at how many people admitted to having played buzz-word bingo. I haven't played it myself, but I did once play a variation, using stupid proverbs. My colleague and I each chose 4 proverbs ("Don't look a gift horse in the mouth" etc) that had to be used, and the first person to use all 4 was the winner.

Needless to say, I was particularly pleased to get in "Well, what's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander", which gave me ultimate victory.

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