10 ways meetings are dumbing us down

According to a recent study, group environments diminish team members’ individual problem-solving capabilities.

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You’ve long suspected that, but research from Virginia Tech offers affirmation.

According to the 2012 study, people in groups struggle to solve the same kinds of problems they are fully capable of solving on their own.

The researchers investigated how information about social status and perceptions of social status affected the ability to solve problems. Comparing yourself negatively against others—as might occur in a brainstorming meeting in which everyone shares his or her ideas—alters the way your brain processes information, and it decreases your ability to solve problems.

Setting aside the social status aspect, here are some other reasons meetings are making us stupid:

1. Why are we here? This occurs when there is no clear reason for the meeting. Perhaps the meeting request was ambiguous or the meeting facilitator jumps right in and fails to state the objective of the meeting.

2. Invariably, someone is late or unprepared. You show up on time to the meeting, but the facilitator is still setting up the projector. All you can think about is how much work you have to do when you get back to your desk.

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