Originally published by Bernard Marr on LinkedIn: 7 'Innocent' Meeting Behaviors That Will Annoy Your Team
Often it is the behaviors we are blissfully unaware of that might be the most annoying to our team. Take meetings, for example. You might be a stellar employee, a good friend, and an exemplary lunch companion, yet elicit groans any time you send out a meeting request. If you suspect this may be the case, see if any of these behaviors sound familiar:
1. You call meetings about other meetings.
Many businesses fall into “meeting culture” in which having meetings about everything becomes commonplace. But these sorts of meetings just waste everyone’s time. If you’re calling meetings because you’re lonely, bored, want to look busy, or want to discuss next week’s lunch spot choices — just don’t.
2. You routinely find yourself playing “devil’s advocate.”
Meetings are a great way to get differing opinions, brainstorm multiple options, and look at every angle of an issue. But in the end, the point of a meeting is to make a decision, and if by playing devil’s advocate, you keep the group talking in circles and endlessly debating instead of making a choice, you’re the problem. A good way to solve this is to designate someone (maybe not you) to make the final decision.
3. You include the entire staff, including janitors and the front desk receptionist, to every meeting.
It’s a good inclination to want to be inclusive, but meetings should only ever involve those people who are directly involved in the decision making. Including people who don’t actually need to be there isn’t a positive move, but rather a distraction. Focus on the core group of people required to make a decision, and let them distribute the information afterward to everyone else.
4. You call a meeting, but don’t actually tell anyone what it’s about.
Maybe you like to think of yourself as a master of suspense, but every meeting should have a clear purpose and action in order to be most effective — and if you’re the only one who knows what that purpose or desired action is, it’s going to be really hard for your team to bring their A game. Whenever you call a meeting, be sure everyone knows what it’s about so that they can come prepared.
5. Your meetings run so long people bring snacks and pillows.
There’s a strange mindset that sometimes emerges in corporate cultures that working longer equals working harder, but there’s nothing more annoying — and, frankly, disrespectful to your team — than a meeting that has no clear schedule, no end time, and runs indefinitely. Instead, set a start and end time for each meeting, and work on reaching the desired outcome in that timeframe.
6. You never have the right dongle.
Tech issues can derail even the most prepared presenter, but if you are constantly the one who doesn’t have the right cable/plugin/password/file etc., consider that the problem might not be technology, but you. If you are in charge of a meeting or the one delivering a presentation, it is your responsibility to test the tech ahead of time. It won’t solve every SNAFU, but it will improve your odds.
7. You attend meetings all the time, but never follow up.
The purpose of a meeting is to come to a decision and then implement that decision. If your meetings are renowned for the brilliant ideas and solutions they spark — but those ideas never make it out of the board room, you have an implementation problem. It’s a good practice to end each meeting by defining the action steps that need to be taken and who is responsible for them.
Fortunately, all of these behaviors — innocent as they might seem to you — can easily be corrected before you actually alienate your entire team.
These are just a few examples I’ve collected, but I’d be interested to know: what “innocent” meeting behaviors do you see that don’t serve the team? I’d like to read your responses in the comments below.
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