Meeting Pet Peeves that Plague Organizations
most business people that there’s another meeting on their agenda,
and you’ll likely see them shake their head, roll their eyes, and
mumble something under their breath. That’s because nearly all
meetings succumb to a few pet peeves – those annoying meeting
happenings that derail the meeting’s purpose, waste time, and cause
friction and frustration among attendees.
all types of meetings fall prey to pet peeves, it’s the
process-oriented, information sharing meetings that most business
people dislike…and that are the most common. Even though the role
of this sort of meetings is to keep others informed and to learn how
what they’re doing fits in the big picture, many people leave these
types of meetings feeling confused, aggravated, and sometimes
is a huge problem for business, because if a meeting isn’t
informative at the very least and enjoyable at the most, then the
company is wasting a lot of money getting people together.
Additionally, if your meetings aren’t on the mark, you’ll get the
reputation for holding poor meetings, which erodes morale and
ensure your meetings are effective, informative and enjoyable, be
aware of the top five meeting pet peeves and avoid them at all
Peeve #1: Not Having an Agenda or Not Sticking to One:
top three rules for Toastmasters are to start the meeting on time,
end it on time, and always have an agenda. This rule should
be true for business meeting too.
Having an agenda is not only simple courtesy; it also tells
attendees that the meeting has a goal and will be productive. An
agenda gives the meeting facilitator control over the meeting’s
flow, keeps the meeting on task, and reduces confusion among
participants. Realize that the agenda does not need to be
elaborate; a simple bullet list of topics is all you need to
Remember to send the agenda out a day or so before the meeting so
attendees can prepare. And if you forget to send it out early,
bring copies of the agenda to hand out when the meeting starts. On
meeting day, stick with the agenda. If a topic comes up in
conversation that is not on the agenda, offer to address that topic
after the meeting. This way you keep the meeting on schedule and
don’t derail the meeting’s purpose.
Peeve #2: Lack of Facilitation:
people mistakenly believe that meetings run on their own – that all
you have to do is get a group of people together in a room and
they’ll automatically produce good results. Wrong! Getting the
people together is the easy part; leading them in a productive
discussion takes skill. That’s why solid meeting facilitation is so
facilitator’s job is to control the flow of the meeting, to help
attendees work together, to provide structure to the meeting, and to
get everyone involved. When attendees are allowed to have their
cell phones ringing during the meeting, when one or two people are
permitted to dominate the conversation, or when it’s acceptable for
key people to not contribute to the discussion, good facilitation is
lacking. Therefore, make sure all your meetings have an effective
facilitator at the helm.
Peeve #3: People Arriving Late to the Meeting:
many meetings have you arrived to on time, only to have the meeting
start late as everyone waits for others to show up? Even worse, if
the meeting does start on time, it restarts 10 minutes later when a
few people straggle in. Rather than continue with the meeting, the
facilitator attempts to bring the late comers up to speed by
rehashing everything that was just covered.
why penalize the people who arrived on time? A better approach is
to close the door when the meeting starts and put a note on the door
that says, “Meeting in Progress.” Those who arrive late will know to
sneak in as inconspicuously as possible…and, hopefully, they won’t
make the same mistake next time. Additionally, unless the late
person is the boss, don’t restart the meeting later. When meeting
start times are enforced and honored, people will make the effort to
be on time.
Peeve #4: Using PowerPoint When It’s Not Needed:
PowerPoint is an essential business tool, but it’s not effective for
all meeting types. Unfortunately, many people believe that ALL
meetings require the use of PowerPoint. Not true! Typical
information sharing meetings require a facilitator asking questions
and everyone contributing in round-robin style. Watching someone
read PowerPoint slides is not how these meetings should run. After
all, if people simply needed to read pages of text, you could just
send them the file and skip the meeting completely.
course, if your informational meeting needs more of people’s senses
involved, then use PowerPoint to add that visual component.
Likewise, if you’re combining everyone’s data and showing it in
chart or graph form, PowerPoint is great. But don’t use PowerPoint
just for the sake of it. Know why you’re using it, and then do it
Peeve #5: Listening to Unprepared or Ineffective Speakers:
Nothing is worse than listening to a monotone speaker who says “um”
or “ah” every other word…or having someone start their portion of
the meeting by saying, “I really didn’t prepare anything for this,
so let’s just wing it.”
everyone should speak and offer ideas at these meetings, some people
may have to give more thoughtful, polished information. These
people should be identified beforehand so they have time to prepare.
This is crucial, because in most organizations, to be promoted you
must have solid public speaking skills.
Additionally, if someone simply isn’t good at giving presentations,
no matter how much preparation he or she does, that person needs to
get support and training to become more effective. Granted, no one
wants to tell a colleague, “You need to work on your public speaking
skills,” but offering support to others will not only make meetings
more effective, it will also make the company stronger.
Business meetings are a mainstay in our work-world, so no matter
what you think of them, they’ll never go away. Knowing this, isn’t
it time we all work to avoid the top meeting pet peeves? If we all
do our part, we can make meetings more enjoyable, more productive,
and more meaningful for everyone involved. And that’s one kind of
meeting everyone will love to attend.
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