Biggest Meeting Killers

“I hate meetings!” This is probably the most common response we get when we mention the subject of meetings to the participants in our classes. Studies have shown that people really do dread being called to a meeting and quite often the way the meetings have been run are a big part of the reason. Here are some of the major reasons that meetings are considered to be so worthless.

Late Start – All too often we get to a meeting on time, only to find that it doesn’t start for 10 or 20 minutes. The usual excuse is that we’re waiting for everyone to arrive, what isn’t being considered is the viewpoint of those who arrived on time. They are wondering why they arrived on time and trying to determine just how late they can be to the next meeting. Getting in the habit of starting on time will benefit everyone, showing respect for those who arrive on time and encouraging those that often arrive late. By the way, the main reason people arrive late for meetings is because meetings usually start late!

Poor Preparation – Let us consider the preparation of the person calling the meeting. Have they examined other ways to accomplish the work of the meeting, such as, the use of e-mail, memos, or a conference call? Has an agenda been created and distributed in a timely manner so that all attendees will have a clear vision of the meeting and how they might contribute? Have they pared the list of participants down to just the crucial people, those that have something to contribute? Next to consider is how the meeting attendees have prepared themselves. Have they looked over the agenda and formulated their opinions on the topics to be discussed? Did they do research on any topic that they might not have understood completely? Where available, did they collect and bring evidence to support their opinions and ideas?

Too Long – The reasons that cause a meeting to drag on are numerous, here are some of the most common. 1. The facilitator doesn’t have the authority, ability or knowledge to effectively run the meeting. This allows the conversations to get off-track and expands the agenda. 2. The meeting was scheduled for an extended time slot. As in other areas of our life a meeting will fill the time allotted. While the agenda gets completed many of the attendees still feel some frustration as the meeting continues until it’s ending time. This is especially true for off-site meetings.

Little is Accomplished – With a late start and poor preparation by the leader and it’s no wonder that not much is accomplished during the meeting. When we develop a reputation for holding meetings that fail to get much done we shouldn’t be surprised when people avoid attending. Your most energetic and enthusiastic staff members become quite frustrated when forced into meetings that don’t get much, if anything done.

Do whatever you can to avoid these meeting killers and your staff will be more willing to participate.

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