Reasons why meetings fail
Updated: Sep 22, 2020
Most of the time, as employees leave the room, you'll catch them saying things like "That was a waste of time." or " I could have finished my project today but I had to come to this." The list goes on. Meetings are often perceived as a waste of time and they tend to not understand the whole purpose of the meeting.
These are the reasons why meetings can fail:
1) No agenda means no purpose. If a plan of discussion has not been thought out, then the meeting tends to be filled with long pauses, shuffling for the correct information and blank stares. You want to go in clear and concise so employees feel like the meeting has a larger purpose. It does no harm to print out copies of the agenda to give to them so they have something to refer to.
2) No interaction. Avoid just standing at the front of the room and talking at them. Meetings fail with no interaction as people get bored and feel as if they can't share any feedback. Try asking questions, or ask them for feedback. In the past, people have created tasks to do in group work to reinforce the team work aspect of working for a department.
3) Time is money. This links with needing an agenda. Employees are either taking time out of their busy schedules or have come in especially for this meeting, so make it worth it. Have a clear plan and goal of what you want to achieve. This way, you can steer conversations towards your outcome, to ensure the group don't stray too far from the topic of discussion. Make it worthwhile for your employees to be there with you. Order refreshments of some sort or have interactive conversation to keep them engaged. Do not let the meeting go on for too long or provide breaks to ensure focus throughout.
4) Allowing conflict to get out of control. There will always be someone present that has concerns regarding a procedure or talking point. It's important to let them express these concerns and give feedback. However, do not let it turn into a conflict. Not only will it create a negative environment but it will also steer you away from your intended agenda. To reassure them their point is valid, put it on a question board to take away from the meeting.
5) Not summarising actions. Failure to do this may make employees misunderstand the next steps. Make sure everyone is leaving with a clear action plan and are sure of what they have to do to achieve your team goal. Trying giving deadlines for particular tasks to enforce a sense of urgency to the meeting.
These points are why meetings fail. Take these on board to ensure you are making the most of the 2-3 hours, your employees, are giving you of their time.