Book Review: The Surprising Science of Meetings

I guess that over the past 20 years, I have facilitated over 1,000 meetings. Some went better than others. My favorite book until just recently was Patrick Lencioni’s Death by Meetings. I now have a new favorite book on the topic of meetings.

The Surprising Science of Meetings by Steven G. Rogelberg offers a comprehensive exploration of the often overlooked and underestimated world of meetings. Rogelberg, a leading expert in organizational science, combines academic research with practical insights to shed light on the dynamics, challenges, and potential of meetings in various professional settings.

The book begins by addressing the nature of meetings in the corporate world and beyond, highlighting their impact on productivity, employee engagement, and overall organizational success. Rogelberg presents compelling evidence that, when conducted effectively, meetings can be powerful tools for collaboration, decision-making, and innovation. The issue for most companies is not too many meetings. It’s too many bad meetings.

One of the strengths of the book is its emphasis on evidence-based recommendations. Rogelberg draws on a wealth of research to debunk common myths about meetings and provides readers with practical strategies for optimizing their effectiveness. From the structure of meetings to the role of technology and the importance of inclusive participation, the author delves into the nuances of successful meeting management.

Rogelberg also tackles the issue of unproductive or unnecessary meetings, offering insights into how organizations can identify and address these pitfalls. He advocates for a culture of mindful meeting planning and execution, encouraging leaders to consider the value of everyone’s time and the impact of meetings on overall morale.

The content is engaging and relevant even though it’s rooted in research and data. Rogelberg doesn’t shy away from addressing the human element of meetings, discussing the psychological aspects that contribute to their success or failure.

The Surprising Science of Meetings is a valuable resource for anyone seeking to transform their approach to meetings. Rogelberg’s evidence-based insights, combined with practical tips, make this book an essential read for leaders, managers, and team members alike. It offers a refreshing perspective on a topic often dismissed as mundane, showing that, with the right understanding and application of science, meetings can indeed be a powerful force for positive change within organizations.

I highly recommend this book to any small business owner responsible for leading company meetings.