from the Blog

Five Reasons Why I Hate Meetings


Party Line Meeting

Meetings serve an extremely important function for businesses and other organizations. They are a great for facilitating communication between the various members of your team. They save time. They can be effective in boosting morale. They provide opportunities for collaboration, accountability, getting feedback, planning, and solving problems. Well run meetings can be an opportunity to develop individuals and the team.

Why then do we complain so much about meetings?

The problem is… we have not adequately defined the problem.

I am not going to pull any punches here – meetings, if not well done, can absolutely suck the life out of you. Bad meetings waste time and money. Poorly managed meetings can negatively effect morale.

Here are five, + a bonus, reasons that I hate business meetings:

  • The objective of the meeting is not clear. How many meetings do you attend where there is no stated agenda? If you were to Google ‘effective business meetings’ the first thing on nearly every list is a focus on a clear agenda. It should be well thought out and clearly define the purpose for the meeting – the desired goals and outcomes. Each item on the agenda should have a purpose and answer the question of ‘Why’. As you set up your agenda, consider listing agenda items in the form of questions instead of short phrases to further promote preparation and discussion. Example: instead of ‘Sales Goals’, how about ‘How can we achieve a 10% increase in Sales?’. Distribute the agenda and any background information ahead of time – no surprises on meeting day – oh, 15 minutes before the meeting is not advance notice.

I think it is ok to have a meeting for the sole purpose of just having a conversation. If having a meeting without action items makes you uncomfortable, call it a forum.

  • They seem to go on and on. We are busy people and our time is valuable. It is important for meetings to have a definite start and stop time. If you are in charge, please start and end on time. I am way too nice and often delay the start of a meeting while people wander in. I have trained my people that it is ok – it’s not – and it’s disrespectful to those that are on time and ready to go. And please, don’t move the meeting time multiple times – don’t change or cancel it at the last minute. I have scheduled other events on my calendar to accommodate this meeting. The meeting leader or facilitator is responsible for managing the agenda and the time.
  • The wrong people are in the room. Don’t you just hate it when the person that really needs to be in the conversation is not in the room, or on the call. Likewise, consider each persons role in the meeting – if someone is not really needed, then please, let them off the hook.
  • Every week it is the ‘same old thing’. It seems like we are going through the motions just to check it off the schedule. Regularly scheduled meetings can be extremely valuable to a team or a company. They also can become quite stale. Reiterating the purpose or the why of the meeting, as a reminder, can serve to re-energize a seemingly stale agenda. Define clear outcomes. Is the meeting a weekly status and accountability meeting, planning meeting, team building, or just a discussion?
  • Meeting participants are not prepared or engaged. Sometimes this goes back to the people in the room – have you invited the right people? Have they been given the appropriate preparatory information? Do they understand the purpose of the meeting? Why are people not engaged? Are they questioning the value of the meeting? Consider the meeting schedule. Most people are distracted on Monday mornings with starting the week. Leaders are trying to attend to their teams. Friday afternoons find people trying to wrap up or prepare for the weekend.
  • A bonus pet peeve – people taking calls during the meeting, texting, reading emails, or surfing the web. I know that none of you are guilty of this . . . .

This week . . .

Before you schedule another meeting, consider the steps that you need to take to ensure that it will produce the results that you need.

  • Clear agenda – clear purpose
  • Time sensitive and time bound
  • Right people in the room
  • Good preparation

Businesses that are able to master the art of effective meetings are the most successful.

. . . . go have an Awesome Week!

Tom Trabue


photo credit: Flickr CC4.0
Il Titolo x Chrissieco – “Pary Line” =^_^=