Ineffective meetings are a pain in the backside. They waste time, money and energy and can often result in a loss of productivity. This end result detracts from business success and growth.
The reasons for poor meetings can be endless. Here we explore some of the common reasons why meetings can be ineffective.
1) No Agenda set
It has to be one of the most common reasons while meetings fail – no agenda has been set. You’ve been invited to a meeting with a generic subject title but no agenda has been issued.
The outcome ? Everyone talks about different points or they go off topic and nothing gets achieved. The meeting turns out to be completely pointless.
2) Meetings fail to start and finish on time
Meetings can become ineffective if that can’t stick to the allocated times. By not starting on time people can become distracted or lose interest before the meeting has even begun.
By failing to finish on time may result in some points in the meeting being rushed or ignored completely.
Attendees of your meeting may have other things to do, other meetings to attend to. Therefore holding them up will leave them disengaged, as mentally they’re focussing on where they should be.
3) Others don’t need to be there
A classic of meetings is to either invite everyone or not to invite the key people. Again leading to an ineffective meeting.
By not having the right people there you could agree on an action plan or the next steps for someone else to overrule it. Rendering your meeting useless.
You could also have people in the meeting that have don’t really need to be there. This could also contribute to a negative outcome. This band of people could become disinterested and not focus on the meeting in hand.
Other attendees may pick up on this behaviour and themselves lose interest and struggle to stay focused. Again leading to an ineffective meeting
Interruptions can also lead to ineffective meetings. Being interrupted can cause the speaker to lose his or her train of thought and others can become distracted and forget what was being said. Constant interruptions can lead to a lack of progress because the focus is elsewhere and not on the meeting in hand.
It is always best to try and limit the interruptions. This could be done by booking a room, so other people are aware that a meeting is taking place. Ensure phones are kept on silent and allow a policy that allows people to speak without being interrupted.
5) No actions agreed or noted
You may have spent all that time preparing your meeting, people have attended, but following the meeting no actions have been assigned to anyone or the points raised in the meeting noted.
Once a meeting is wrapping up the actions should be agreed and reiterated and also document. Therefore in future meetings, you can see the progress being made
Let me know in the comments below how you think successful meetings should be run