Excellent, being in the health care industry, I have the chance and obligations to attend many meetings. Although these are important in the framework of many aspects of any organisation, there are numerous occasions that one always feels; the snacks and refreshments were good but rest a total waste of time. Meetings are various levels, different group sizes are slotted in any job plan and sub-section of a large organisation. These are meant to improve efficiency, assess the growth, find a solution and for the overall betterment of the unit as a whole.
We live in a world where time is precious and resources are scarce. For instance, in your case, if you calculate your productivity, travel time and money, the actual duration of the meeting and the final end result or outcome it would be a waste of precious resources. I think the more important aspect of holding a meeting is 'What is the cost of this meeting?' This would include the venue hired or rental that would be given for the office space, the number of people in the meeting, money spent on sound and recording if any and most important the average salary paid out to the members attending the meet ( this gives an idea how much the company is paying literally every hour these people spend in the meeting). Now multiply it by the number of such meetings per week or per year. These figures will be staggering.
So, in my view, the organisation has to have strict guidelines for such meetings. It should not be held just because we need to record such a meeting, we need to remember that Rs X is spent on this meeting so what results from the meeting would justify the meeting itself in the first place. Once we understand this concept, I feel that people who chair these events will have a valid agenda and expect a set of valid results at the end.
Further on, the actual events that happen at these meetings are a bit of socialising, chit chat, having a cup of tea or coffee, comparing notes, having sub discussions. Even if such a meeting really starts, then we review the summary of the previous meeting wherein still there will be 10 different views from 10 different members. Once this is put the rest, the meeting moves on to the actual agenda. So by the time the slot finished often only half of the planned agenda is achieved and it spills over.
Not being cynical, there are times when I feel such meetings can be overridden by another more important task at that point in time. I delegate a junior member at such times, then compare notes with the chair and key members as to what did I miss, what can I contribute. In the healthcare sector, we have moved on virtual meetings in high-end hospitals where in we gather the inputs of all key personnel but many of them are at their places of work across the city and state. Just imagine a conference as a meeting, I'm sure many of us would feel at least half of the duration of the 2-3 day meeting of experts could have been better used.
May be once we do a quick analysis of input-output of each meeting and the implications of the results of such meetings, people move on to constructively contributing to such meetings, adhere to time strictly, always considering the poor colleague who has to still speak, then meetings can start to be productive and people won't be disheartened like this author above.