A survey, conducted by post graduate students of Harvard University, says that free tea and biscuits served during a meeting is the main reason the top management calls for meetings frequently.
A group of 24 students sneaked into more than 300 office meetings over a period of one year to understand the urgency and importance of meetings. After talking to attendees and managers it was established that the main reason for such frequent meetings is free refreshments.
To know more about this, our correspondent Suresh Prakash Chaubey visited Harvard to meet the students and get their views. One such Harvard student, Vipin Mishra, said, “We guys surveyed close to 300 meetings and found that the meetings where cookies and tea were being served had more people as compared to meetings where nothing except water bottles were being served. Also, another amazing thing is that even if the purpose of a meeting is very important, many people tend to give it a miss since there is no cookie or tea available. A guy didn’t attend his appraisal meeting since there were no refreshments available.”
Another student said, “Though it has been proved that biscuits and tea help gather more people in a meeting, one should also keep in mind that some people are quite choosy about brands and the taste of the biscuits. I witnessed a meeting which didn’t attract many people despite having free biscuits and tea because the quality and taste of the cookies wasn’t that good. On the other hand, in an AGM (annual general meeting), employees from even other offices attended the meeting since they were serving free samosas along with free biscuits and tea.”
This survey was conducted only for 300 office meetings. But it does give a very good idea of normal human behavior. If something is available for free then we tend to go for it even if it isn’t required by us. Thanks to this survey, many companies will now keep more snacks and tea in meetings so that more employees are attracted to attend the important ones.