Meetings annoy people; often because of really good reasons. So much is already written about this topic but I thought I could expand on my biggest meeting pet peeve: telling someone that they just need an agenda to fix all of their meeting issues.
- Agenda: Yep, you should have one. However, if you think writing topics sentences and putting a time box on the line is sufficient, continue having crappy meetings.
Now there are other pet peeves for me within meetings, but re-read the first bullet before moving on…it’s that important!
- Multi-tasking: I’m not going to dive into how the majority of people CANNOT multi-task no matter how wonderful you think you are at this skill. It’s not a skill, it’s a fallacy. That aside, guess what…when you are sitting there typing away on your computer or laughing because of something you read on your phone, you are distracting me and others in the meeting. Chances have increased that we will now need to repeat something. If you can’t be present in the meeting, don’t pretend to be present! No one is fooled and you are impacting whether others are also present.
- Fake purpose: Please don’t walk into a meeting with a pre-determined solution and then ram it down everyone’s throat. Not only will this come back to bite you later (think sabotage due to lack of ownership) but this does serious damage to a culture of collaboration.
- No diverge: Meetings are amazing for wisdom of the crowd scenarios. If you don’t need anyone’s wisdom (exploring, collaborating, etc), then broadcast your information in a different format or make it very clear the purpose of the meeting (see the first bullet).
- No converge: Leverage a technique, such as fist of five, to ensure everyone is in agreement. Silence does not mean agreement!
- Unfocused: Hopefully, people prepared for this meeting. If you veer off track onto an alternative topic, not only are the attendees at a disadvantage; the meeting hasn’t been designed to achieve this topic’s objective. You will have people bored (shouldn’t have been invited to that topic), frustrated (unprepared, still focused on the last topic, etc), and confused (what is this meeting for?). The only person who is happy that this is happening, is the person who trolled the meeting.
- All business: Does anyone want to be in a constant serious state? Sometimes creativity needs energizing environments. The last time I checked, stuffy formal meetings didn’t rate high in energizing.
As much as these are pet peeves, they are mine and as a leader that doesn’t mean I get to simply judge others. Instead, these serve as opportunities for others and for me to grow. If this stuff was easy, I wouldn’t be sharing.
What are your meeting pet peeves?