“I REALLY love business meetings!” — said no employee, ever.
Although business meetings are a necessary part of corporate life, many are just a waste of time. Most of us want to have productive and quick meetings so that we can return to our daily tasks.
But, unfortunately, meetings don’t always pass as smoothly as we want. There are so many things that annoy us, and we just sit there incapable of doing anything to make it better.
Here are five annoying things about meetings and solutions for them:
Arriving Late to Business Meetings
Have you noticed that there are no business meetings that start on time because people are late or forget about the meeting? It is not a sin to be late, but some people lack respect for their colleagues by arriving late to the meeting room EVERY TIME. Because of this, others get annoyed at waiting and wasting their precious time, which makes them less productive than they could be.
Start the meetings without them. If you constantly start the meetings without late arrivals, sooner or later they will feel uncomfortable when interrupting the discussion and not being integrated in it from the beginning.
You can also nicely advise them to use their cell phones or Google calendar as a reminder to arrive on time.
For some people, it seems completely OK to interrupt you in the middle of your sentence and not let you finish it. This action shows disrespect toward what you are saying. By interrupting you, they make it pretty clear that they don’t think that you are saying anything valuable or they just want to establish dominance during business meetings. In both cases, the interrupted colleagues find this situation very uncomfortable.
All you need to do is to interrupt the interrupter. If you don’t want to seem like you’re asking for permission to continue, don’t use phrases like “Please, let me finish.” Instead, wait for the interrupter to finish speaking, then finish your statement. This way, you are taking ownership of your idea and establishing your authority.
Texting and Scrolling
There are occasions when you need to respond to a message immediately. However, using your phone nonstop during a meeting is something that should not happen. Some participants try to do it on the down low, but everybody can see them it and finds it distracting. Texting and scrolling the entire time is rude toward everyone else.
At the beginning of the staff meeting, establish the ground rules. Ask all the participants to turn off their phones or to put them on the table until the meeting is over. If somebody’s waiting for an urgent message or call, ask them to warn about it before the meeting so that they can keep their phones by them. This sounds pretty strict, but it is a good way to keep your employees engaged and concentrated.
Bad Meeting Agenda
If the meeting is poorly organized and there are no sequential steps for its management, people will get annoyed quickly and will not take the process seriously. Even if your meeting seems productive and focused at one point in time, it is still a bad meeting if you don’t know what happens afterward. In this case, if you’re the manager, people may find the meeting useless and you could lose your credibility.
Organize your meetings beforehand. Define some clear steps for the meeting management and follow them. Try not to go beyond scheduled time, and make sure you didn’t miss any essential topics. In the end of the meeting, ask the participants to share their anonymous feedback with real-time polling tool Swift Polling. People usually prefer well-organized meetings instead of spontaneous discussions that are often 2onsidered as a waste of time.
The perception of the concept of “sharing” is usually positive. But in the professional environment, it shouldn’t be considered something casual. A meeting is not really a place to share intimate details of your personal life or emotions. Sometimes, participants keep talking about personal stuff without noticing that they interrupted the whole meeting and that no one is actually interested in their story.
The only thing you can do is to nicely interrupt them and tell them you want to keep the meeting to the allocated time, so you’re going to move on. This way, they will soon understand that the oversharing is inappropriate, and will draw lines between their personal and professional lives.