Meetings lower your IQ

It is now definitive, meetings lower your IQ:

Meetings make people stupid because they impair their ability to think for themselves, scientists have found.

The performance of people in IQ tests after meetings is significantly lower than if they are left on their own, with women more likely to perform worse than men.

Researchers at the Virginia Tech Crilion Research institute in the US said people’s performance dropped when they were judged against their peers.

Read Montague, who led the study, said: “You may joke about how committee meetings make you feel brain-dead, but our findings suggest that they may make you act brain-dead as well.

“We started with individuals who were matched for their IQ. Yet when we placed them in small groups, ranked their performance on cognitive tasks against their peers, and broadcast those rankings to them, we saw dramatic drops in the ability of some study subjects to solve problems. The social feedback had a significant effect.”


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  • jonno1

    Doesn’t surprise me at all. I dropped out of the corporate rat race nearly 20 years ago, at least partly due to lack of productivity and other frustrations resulting from meetings. Mind you, I might have stayed on if the participants had resembled those in your link… [ellipsis credited to phil].

    These days I have productive monthly meetings with a small number of clients, then go away & get on with the job (except when I’m reading blogs), and everyone’s happy.

  • Agree with jonno1 – they’re like school – everyone gets reduced down to the lowest participant.

  • Duncan Stuart

    Nah nah nah…the great output of meetings is, they allow people to connect. In organisational communicaiton studies I’ve asked people how they form their own informal networks – their effective grapevines. The dominant answer surprised me, but there it is: meetings.

    I remember one respondent telling me: “We always have meetings, and often they are useless… but usually at a meeting there’s one or two other people who seem switched on…so afterwards, over coffee I have a chat with them and we swap names.

    • jonno1

      Informal meetings, yes, assuming one-on-one, or at least with a small number of participants. Formal meetings – no! Site meetings are best, even with a larger number of participants, provided they all have the same agenda: to get the job done quickly and efficiently. Timing is everything – 3pm site meetings can then gravitate to the pub at 5pm (or earlier).

      Actually you’ve reminded me that the best meetings I’ve had (as a consultant) have been with contractor(s) and other specialist consultants, sometimes with an approved client representative (ie approved by the rest of the group!). All on the same page, practical issues and turf wars sorted out on the spot, and best of all, mutual trust established and maintained.

      It’s the internal corporate meetings that so often simply waste time with no positive outcome – there’s a lot of fault-finding, finger-pointing, discussion of reporting requirements and KPIs, and the killer issue: restructuring.

  • Just got sent this from the USA – couyldn’t be more appropriate…. click on the image to enlarge.

    • jonno1

      I almost used “synergy” in my example above, but restrained myself.

      But your clip reminds me of a “management” meeting I attended a few years ago where after a few minutes I realised that the “manager” was speaking in cliches, so I started to jot them down – must have got to about 20 within an hour (not counting repeats). About half of the words or phrases on your list were included. Furthermore, it looked like I was hanging on to her every word.

      As I was a consultant I was entitled to charge for listening to this BS, but for the record I couldn’t bring myself to do so – nor did I attend any more meetings.

  • jay cee

    my experience of meetings was that they all had the same outcome namely:-
    a lot gets discussed

    little gets decided and….

    even less gets actioned.