You hear it everywhere…meetings are a waste of time. They are boring. Who would choose to go to a meeting if they could get out of it?
In reality, meetings should be some of the most productive time during the day. If done properly, they offer an opportunity to spark creativity, to strategize and to learn, and to bond as team able to innovate and solve problems. Unfortunately, that is not the norm.
To help you be a rock star meeting facilitator, we’ve borrowed this list of the Top 10 Meeting Annoyances from Human Resource Executive magazine, and added some ways to deal with each situation to make your meetings more productive.
1. Allowing attendees to ramble and repeat the same comment or thought.
A simple way to avoid this is to thank the person for offering their input and ask for other thoughts. This way you let the individual know that you have heard his/her remarks and you have validated them. If they go back to it again, simply say, “I’ve made a note of that. Thank you.”
2. Not starting on time, staying on track or finishing on time.
When you send out your meeting notice, let everyone know that you will respect their time by starting at XX o’clock and will hold the meeting to one hour (or whatever). When things start getting off track, suggest that you schedule another meeting to discuss the side issues. NEVER say “OK let’s get back on track.” That invalidates the speaker, which is not a good thing. Another option is to mention that you promised to limit the meeting to one hour (or whatever you said in your meeting notice). Ask them if they want to continue the discussion or stick with the schedule. Whether they say yes or no, you are the good guy.
3. Not having specific action items or walk-away points.
People really don’t like to attend meetings unless they feel that their presence is needed and valued. Think about why you need specific individuals to attend. If there is no action, no input required, and no information to be delivered that directly impacts that an individual, he/she probably doesn’t need to be there and will not be happy to waste time doing so.
4. Having no clear purpose or objective.
This is a major pet peeve! So, here is the trick to accomplish more and with greater enthusiasm: Include the meetings desired outcome/purpose in the meeting notice. If there are specific points that need research or thought before the meeting, include that.
5. Not being inspiring or motivating.
You don’t have to be a cheerleader to motivate or inspire, but you do have to be sincere about the importance. If you are only having that weekly staff meeting because your boss told you to, it’s time to get creative. How can you use the time to develop a tighter team or to develop innovative solutions?
6. Not being organized or having an agenda.
Have an agenda. Period. Know how long each item on said agenda will take. Don’t put too many things on there for the time you have allocated. It is better to have a second meeting than it is to go over the time limit you have promised.
7. Lasting too long.
8. Repeating information for late arrivals.
People will learn to be on time if you don’t accommodate their tardiness. The exception to this rule is if the person showing up late is your boss or the decision maker.
9. Having a weak presenter(unprepared, monotone, overly redundant).
To minimize the chance, try to select people who you know to be good speakers, and be certain that you are very clear about your expectations.
10. Being boring — nothing new of interest.
Don’t have a meeting to have a meeting! Include an ice breaker if you want to shake things up a bit. There are hundreds listed on the web that get people energized. If you need some ideas, shoot us an email using the form below and we’ll give you some ideas.
Do you have any other meeting annoyances that we haven’t included? Send them to us on the form below and we’ll include them in our follow-up post!
Don’t miss next week’s blog where we will provide an 8-step process that will help you get even more productivity out of your meetings.