I was sitting in an internal meeting a few days ago, where everyone else in the meeting had their laptops in front of them. I realized that, as the meeting started, everyone with a laptop was multi-tasking. They were listening, but doing other work at the same time. Then, during the meeting, one person stepped out for another conference call. The facilitator did not have everyone’s attention.
Does this sound familiar to you? While all of us accept meetings as part of doing business and getting work done, we value our time and only want to attend meetings that are productive. Yesterday, Promotional Consultant Today shared two key blunders to avoid in conducting a meeting: not having an agenda and not having a facilitator. Today, we share three more meeting pet peeves.
People Arriving Late To The Meeting. How 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 latecomers 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.
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.
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.”
While 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. Do your part to keep meetings focused, productive and informative.
Source: Jean Kelley, author and entrepreneur, is the managing director of Jean Kelley Leadership Alliance, whose faculty and trainers have helped more than 750,000 leaders and high potentials up their game at work in the U.S. and in Canada.