How to make employees hate meetings (the top 10 time-wasters)
They are a necessary evil in most organizations. Meetings, however, can take on a life of their own and become unproductive. We`ve rounded up the top ten time wasters that will make your employees cringe with every invitation.
How do you know if your employees are secretly dreading their 11:00? This quick checklist of the top ten time wasters will tell you what to avoid.
1. Unnecessary gatherings
Next time you’re about to organize a meeting, STOP. Ask yourself if you really need it. Can this be accomplished via e-mail, on a call, or through a quick conversation? Nothing makes employees hate meetings more than having them back-to-back all day.
2. Too many people
Be ruthless with your invite list. Does every person need to be there? Does each person truly know why they need to be there? Invites that have continually expanding invite lists have the same effect as extraneous cc’s on an email—employees simply view them as clutter.
3. Too much talking
There are people who love to speak in meetings. It is safe to say there are people who just like to talk in general. The majority of senior management positions are held by extroverts; about 96% actually, as we discuss in this previous Workopolis article. If there is a voice or two that seem to dominate every meeting, try to keep things balanced. Discussion is great in some instances, but can take up valuable time.
4. Lack of a schedule
It’s a well-known point that is worth repeating: come with an agenda. It can be something as basic as the points you intend to cove, and the action items that will hopefully result. Employees appreciate agendas; it shows that you value their time enough to prepare.
5. Too much time
Does anybody ever need a two hour meeting at 3:00 on a Friday? There is a reason that classes in school run for 50 minutes. The human brain can only absorb so much at one time. Many technology companies have virtually abolished traditional meetings, and replaced them by quick daily stand-ups. This may not work for all industriues but there is a lesson to be learned here. A group of people who know they have a time limit will power through the agenda with purpose. How long do you think you need? Take that, and chop it in half. Your employees will thank you.
6. Not defining which kind of meeting
There is a need for all kinds of meetings. There are creative brainstorming sessions, project reviews, planning sessions, proposals, and more. Designate the time for not just a meeting, but a particular kind of meeting. Making this abundantly clear from the get-go will help steer things on the right path.
7. Being under-prepared
This is closely related to lacking of a schedule or agenda. There’s nothing more frustrating than sitting through a meeting and leaving more confused than when you started. Come armed with the information you think you’ll need.
8. Being over-prepared
There’s a flip side to this —yes, you can actually be over-prepared. If you are following a script too much, it leaves no space for discussion or questions. Even in the case of a presentation, allocate some time at the end for questions and discussion. It’s that kind of collaborative effort that keep people interested in what you’ve been working on.
9. Technology fails
Power points that won’t open. Projectors that don’t start. Computers that stall. AV can help clarify points in a meeting, but can cause endless headaches at the start. The rule of thumb is that if you organized the meeting, you sort out the technology.
10. Taking notes
Ever look around a room and see 10 people scribbling in their notebooks? Notes or comments that specifically relate to each person present are inevitable (and a sign that people are actually listening) but it shouldn’t require a case of carpal tunnel to get the points. Designate a note-taker for the meeting that can summarize the results and send them to every person who attends.