Some of the unhappiest faces I’ve ever seen were on people headed to a meeting. And not just work meetings. Practically any meeting.
I’ve always thought that meetings bring out a person’s insecurities. If you’re insecure about your job performance, speaking in a group setting or your lack of sleep, a meeting will bring those insecurities right out where everyone can see them. Your opinion may vary. Especially if you consider yourself God’s gift to business.
Some people love meetings. Generally, they’re the people who call meetings and run them. I once worked for someone who didn’t see the value in memos (we didn’t have email yet) and called a meeting for every announcement or business decision. In fact, there was a standing Monday morning meeting set to discuss the schedule of meetings for the remainder of the week. I wish I’d made that up. I didn’t.
This morning I found something on the Internet that made me feel good. It turns out that if you’ve ever felt like a work meeting was slowly extracting IQ points from your brain, you may have been correct. A study has actually concluded that group interaction can lower your intelligence.
To figure this out, scientists in Virginia matched up groups of people based on their IQ scores. They then gave the members of each group various cognitive tests and ranked their performance. Then they announced the scores to everyone and gave them more cognitive tests.
Here’s the result they found: people who were told that others got better scores than they did performed even worse on subsequent tasks. A large percentage of those who had substandard scores exhibited dramatic drops in their ability to solve problems.
That essentially implies one of two things: the feeling that you’re not as smart as others in a group may have a negative effect on your ability to perform, or once you’ve figured out somebody else in the group is a brainiac, the pressure on you to think critically is off. All you have to do now is follow orders. And those orders, your brain assumes, probably don’t require a lot of thinking. Just a lot of doing.
Since I read this I’ve considered bringing it to the attention of those higher up the ladder than I, but I don’t believe I will. They’d probably just want to have a meeting about it.