A Little Tip to Make Boring Meetings Less Boring

August 1, 2014

10:44 am

If ever there were something inherently boring on this earth, it might be meetings. The group “brainstorming,” the coworkers trying to impress the boss, the lack of actionability all conspire to put us to sleep.

Or not. According to psychology researcher Shawn Achor, even the most boring of meetings is an opportunity for us to exercise our positivity. His book The Happiness Advantage is all about how positivity leads to more success at work – more productivity and creativity, and less burnout.

If meetings bore us, he says, our negative attitude might be to blame.  

“Think of the last interminable meeting you were forced to sit through (you probably won’t have to think back very far.) You may have decided in the first three minutes that the stated objective of the meeting was not going to be met, or that you didn’t care about the objective to begin with. Those two hours that followed suddenly became a tremendous waste of time, a drain on your energy and productivity and possibly also your motivation,” he writes. 

But what if we decided to profit from this meeting, no matter what? What if we engaged our brains by trying to learn three new things during the meeting? They could be as simple as how to give a good presentation, handle questions from coworkers, or format a PowerPoint, Achor suggests. Anything so that the meeting isn’t a boring waste of time, but an opportunity for improvement.

It might take Herculean effort, but you’ll see the benefits in your mood the rest of the day – and maybe even in your performance during the meeting.

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Kira M. Newman is a Tech Cocktail writer interested in the harsh reality of entrepreneurship, work-life balance, and psychology. She is the founder of The Year of Happy and has been traveling around the world interviewing entrepreneurs in Asia, Europe, and North America since 2011. Follow her @kiramnewman or contact kira@tech.co.

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