What are the Symptoms of a Bad Meeting?

Does the company you work for conduct weekly or biweekly meeting that seem like a waste of time? When asked this question everyone agreed that meeting were a waste of time and money. One survey showed that businesses waste $37 billion a year on business meetings. If your business is guilty of wasting time and money on business meeting why not fix this problem? Maybe nobody within your organization is responsible or accountable for offering suggestions on how to change the meetings. Therefore, your meetings waste time and money and your employees walk out of the room shaking their heads. However, this is something that you can control and make your company meeting more productive.

How you can identify and change a bad meeting.

1. Does your meeting ramble on without a purpose?

In order to have good meeting practices you need an agenda to reduce the time wasted in your meeting. Most business leaders all agree that the reason most meetings fail is, for lack of planning and organization. Before your meeting, send an agenda to everyone that will attend. When your meeting starts, review the agenda and have everyone agree to follow the agenda. If your meeting starts to get off track, inform everyone that we need to follow the agenda. Everyone inside the meeting needs to share the responsibility to keep the meeting on track. 

2. People stop focusing on the meeting, talk on the phone, text, and send emails.

To keep your meeting members focused on the agenda you need to establish ground rules before your meeting starts. You need time limits for phone conversations, texting, and emailing. Next, you need to have the members of your meeting listen to the conversations without being interrupted by phone calls, text messages, or emails. If the members of your meeting continue to break the ground rules you need to remind them that they all have agreed to the rules. This reminder can come from another member inside the meeting or the leader of the meeting.

3. Some people show up at the meeting unprepared and haven’t done what they promised.

In your business, you need to hold your staff accountable for their actions and the jobs they do. You need to hold each person accountable for their part in the meeting. Don’t allow your employees to show up to the meeting unprepared or haven’t taken the time to read the reports. When you distribute your agenda clearly state what each person's responsibilities are. If any member of the team shows up unprepared after the meeting state the obvious to this person. Let them know this is unacceptable and will not happen again. Make it clear that the next meeting they will come prepared.

4. Your meeting members never seem to agree on a closure to decisions.

In your business, you need a process that can get the activities completed with a minimum of waste. When discussing a topic in your meetings strive to finalize the decision or move the topic to your next meeting. As a business leader you need to create the expectation that during your meeting you will make decisions and strive for a consensus. During the meeting a decision can’t be made, consider assigning this decision to a sub-group. Afterwards, once a decision is reached make sure you have support from the entire group especially the ones who have disagreed. Otherwise, the members who have disagreed will try to destroy and undermine the decision.

5. Your meeting is dominated by a few members.

To help your meeting run smoothly it is recommended that your leader have some basic facilitation skills. The skills will help to make your meeting run smoothly and keep dominating members in place.

6. Your meeting lack timeliness and start late or someone leaves before the meeting has ended.

As a business leader or leader of a meeting it is mandatory that you inform the members that timeliness is important. Don’t accept your members arriving late, unprepared, or leaving before your meeting has finished. The integrity of your meeting relays on the entire group being present and a few members not wasting everyone else’s time. You must always set the expectation of timeliness in advance and always start and stop your meeting on time. Therefore, you must respect peoples’ schedules so they will respect the integrity of your meetings. 

7. Your members leave your meeting tired, depressed, angry, or frustrated.

When conducting meeting look at your members. Are you meeting healthy for all your members? If you provide coffee, soft drinks, and bagels, you could be spiking the member’s blood sugar and then causing it to crash. Does your meeting run longer than necessary? Do you have breaks in your meeting? Have you considered the time of day you are holding your meeting? As leader of your group you must consider the logistics of your meeting. Make sure your meetings are helping the group and not hindering the work.

Image: flickr.com

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Julie Sinclair

About Julie Sinclair

Julie is a retired school teacher who loves writing, gardening, Internet research, crafts, and being with her family. After retirement Julie has kept up her skills in computing by taking classes at the College near by.