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What Makes Business Meetings Useless?


Business meetings constitute a large portion of the working time especially at the managerial levels. No doubt that meetings have numerous benefits but, in return, they consume much time and energy; therefore, managing meetings properly is a must in order to avoid turning them into time thieves. Beware of the following viruses which will drain synergy and efficiency out to your business meetings.

Skipping the Agenda
Making a simple agenda with a sequence of objectives and roles looks time-consuming for many who prefer just showing up in a meeting and discussing whatever pops up in their mind without noticing that their unplanned gathering wastes much more time than the few minutes put in the agenda. Moreover, setting an agenda helps the meeting planner to define all the relevant participants in advance and avoid most of the problems listed below. Nowadays, MS Outlook and various mobile applications have made meeting planning an easy task; and yes it does pay off even for the one-on-ones and Skype meetings.

Conflicts and Clashes
Taking criticism personal or having a heated discussion is something common in meetings where sensitive topics are brought up. Such clashes emit high levels of negativity which put down synergy, innovation and focus thus ending up with people coming out of the meeting exhausted and pessimistic. The worst part is that these slight, or sometimes tough, conflicts leave scars on the team relationships besides depleting collaboration potential and team spirit overtime. Avoiding or, at least, containing conflicts requires the facilitator to cut down possibilities of discussions evolving into confrontations. It also requires training difficult personalities on team work to leverage their EQ. Furthermore, it is recommended to keep trouble makers and rivals out of sensitive meetings whenever possible.

Excessive Distraction
Ringing phones, texting, people in and out and email notifications are some of the distractions that turn a meeting into a pure wastage of time. The purpose of such gathering is to generate valuable outcome out of profound interaction and this can never be achieved if people are overwhelmed with notifications and interruptions. Keeping your meetings distraction-free without side communication is a must in order to maintain efficiency, effectiveness, as well as mutual respect. This has to be promoted as a significant corporate value in today’s business environment.

Topic Deviations
Getting into personal talks, side jokes or irrelevant business issues, are all deviations which should be overcome in order to keep the meeting efficient and fruitful. Losing track is one of the straightforward consequences of having no clear agenda or poor meeting facilitation. It is recommended to go through ideas in sequence without intersections and to stick to the set agenda. The facilitator shall stop any side talk or emerging discussions and keep them in order after the scheduled topics; otherwise many points will be raised up and nothing valuable will be concluded.

Lack of Action Planning
Bringing up brilliant ideas is excellent; however, they are worth nothing without being put in action and followed up consistently. While it is very tempting to get immersed in long talks and chitchats, attendants subconsciously tend to avoid the commitment part of “what will we do next” or “who will take this over”. Putting a rule of “Not leaving without a plan” shall be a ritual. Regardless of the approach you use in action planning, 4 key points shall be well considered to ensure real impact out of the talk: what tasks need to be carried out? Who will carry out each? What is the time frame? and What is the scope and requirements of execution?




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