I know it's an accepted fact that we hate meetings. How much do we hate them? Well, a recent request to all my LinkedIn contacts (go ahead join me) and Twitter (@greatwebmeeting) followers has gotten a huge response.
I'm working on a new book about meetings and wanted to get some quotes and research. In no particular order, here are the 10 biggest complaints about meetings - and note that most apply equally to online and "real" meetings where people are in the same room.
The complaints are magnified in hybrid meetings where half the attendees are in the room and the rest are umbilically connected through technology.
- The meetings don't start or end on time
- People aren't in the right meeting (this one pops up more than you think. If they can't contribute, the information shared doesn't add to their productivity and they frankly don't care about the topic, exactly why were they invited/dragooned into attendance?)
- People show up wondering what the meeting is all about. (What part of agenda is still unclear?)
- Even if they know what it's about, they're not properly prepared to contribute to the discussion
- Too much time is spent making sure everyone has the latest version of whatever documents are involved
- Key decision makers don't show up, or show up late and don't let anyone know
- People who should contribute don't
- The people doing all the contributing are often the last ones anyone really want or need to hear from
- People aren't clear on the logistics (showing up at the wrong conference room, not having the dial-in number for the conference call)
- They lose focus and get off track
All of which leads to the biggest complaint, which is that they don't accomplish what they are supposed to and everyone feels they wasted their time. Oh, and coffee. A lot of complaints about the coffee. Seems it's either awful or not provided at all. It's like an old Woody Allen joke I'll spare you from. The point is, if you look at any of these problems individually they are easily solved if you use a little common sense and step up.
You'll also notice that many of these problems apply equally to the people who run the meetings as the people who are "merely" participants. We all share the blame. How do I put this delicately? Knock it off.
So no magic bullets here. Just asking you to think about what's working, what's not, and what role you can play.