It’s happened to all of us. You start moving from “point A” to “point B” at work, intending to carry out a task. Then, along the way, you get pinged into a quick discussion with a boss or colleague, you stop at someone’s desk to catch up, or you get a personal phone call that you have to take.
By the time you get back to the task, you ask yourself, “Wait, what was I supposed to do again?” No part of the workday is safe from this phenomenon, especially meetings. Workplace meetings are a polarizing topic, with many employees complaining that they’re too unfocused, too long, or too frequent.
All these complaints can lead to meeting attendees being less engaged before and during a meeting, then more likely to forget action items afterward. A less-engaged meeting attendee is more likely to experience decreased meeting memory, which is a person’s capacity to remember or carry out all the action items and tasks that pile up as more and more meetings occur.
And with meetings eating into a company’s profits and productivity — they account for as much as 40 percent of a person’s productive work hours — a less-than-optimal meeting memory is something employees can ill afford. With a few shifts geared toward developing better meeting memory, meeting details become less likely to fall through the cracks.