Meeting Best Practices: 5 Bad Meeting Habits

Did you know that 46% of employees report that they would rather watch paint dry or have a root canal than attend a status meeting?

But the thing is… Meetings can be fun, meaningful, and important work.

To ensure that they are just that, you need to weed out all the annoying aspects of meetings… Such as annoying meeting behavior.

Here, we’ve listed the 5 most annoying meeting behaviors and our guidelines for a successful meeting.

Read on to learn all about meeting best practices.

 

1. Bad meeting habit #1: Arriving late

Admit it:

You’ve been there yourself. You’ve arrived late to a meeting without a legitimate reason.

You’re not alone.

Research shows that workers report being late to meetings 5 percent of the time.

While this can seem like an innocent error, it ultimately has organization-wide consequences.

First:

Employees who are late to meetings are wasting everyone’s time. That’s disrespectful towards co-workers.

Second:

The meeting gets delayed.

Co-workers feel they need to re-start the meeting and brief the latecomer.

That translates into lost profit and frustrated employees.

Ultimately, this can lead to poorer performance.

So:

An employee who’s late to a meeting causes more damage than just being a bit late.

But is there anything you can do about your tardy employee or co-worker? Luckily, there is.

The simplest approach is to talk to him or her and clearly explain why this behavior is driving everyone nuts and the costs involved after he or she arrives late for the next meeting.

If that doesn’t help, the problem could be more deep-rooted.

According to the study above, unsatisfied employees are often late to meetings.

In other words, you might have to dig a bit deeper and see if employee dissatisfaction is sabotaging your meetings.

 

2. Bad meeting habit #2: Checking email

Meeting Best Practices

 

Listen:

Your organization shouldn’t hold unnecessary meetings.

That’s meeting best practices 101.

If anything, they are incredibly expensive and a major waste of time.

You should ruthlessly cut all meetings that don’t serve a clear purpose.

That’s why meeting participants should focus only on the meeting.

Everything else is secondary.

So, why do some people show up to meetings only to check their email?

After all, that’s something you can do half an hour later at your desk.

Research shows that 66% of employees see it as rude if co-workers check their email during meetings.

No wonder. Checking emails during meetings is bad for several reasons:

#1- Multitasking.

Multitasking is detrimental to your productivity. In fact, studies point to the fact that you lose as many as 10 IQ points when you let things like email distract you.

#2- Lack of focus.

A study by the University of California-Irvine shows that it takes around 20 minutes to regain momentum in your work after an interruption.

In other words:

Checking email during meetings is disrespectful and detrimental to office productivity.

But what can you do about this nasty habit?

One solution is to keep distractions at bay by moving temptations further away.

For example, introduce a new policy during your meetings:

All phones and computers must be left outside the meeting room.

This makes it impossible to get distracted by emails.

 

3. Bad meeting habit #3: Not being mentally present

Every single person in a meeting room has a life outside that room.

There are kids to pick up, other work tasks, phone calls and a range of other obligations.

But to hold a successful meeting and achieve the goal set out for that meeting, it’s essential that meeting participants leave all such obligations outside the meeting room.

For example:

Writing grocery lists and coordinating who picks up the kids with a spouse is not what employees should do during meetings.

Instead, they should contribute to the discussion and meeting outcomes.

But:

It’s not uncommon that meeting participants do something completely unrelated.

They might be checking their phone, making notes in their personal schedule or making notes about something unrelated.

What can you do about this?

After all, meeting participants will always have other things on their mind.

An unorthodox solution to this problem is to train your employees in mindfulness.

For example:

Google has for long advocated the use of mindfulness at work.

Mindfulness helps employees be present in the moment, and it reduces anxiety and stress.

For meetings, it translates into more focused work and mentally present employees.

 

4. Bad meeting habit #4: Not coming prepared

Meeting Best Practices

Here’s the deal:

When you organize a meeting, a ground rule is that you only invite people who actually need to be there.

This means that everyone at the meeting needs to make a contribution.

Otherwise, they’re superfluous.

That’s why meeting participants should never be allowed to attend a meeting unprepared.

You know the type of meeting participant:

A few minutes into the meeting, he or she asks basic questions that can be covered with a bit of research.

This is one of the most annoying meeting behaviors.

Anyone who doesn’t prepare him or herself before a meeting is wasting everyone’s time.

First:

You have to brief the unprepared meeting participant. That takes up valuable time.

Second:

Your meeting can hardly be successful if a key person doesn’t know what is being discussed.

Fortunately, you can fix this problem.

Like with most other things, it’s all about communicating the problem to the person in question.

If you’re a co-worker, talk to the unprepared meeting participant after the meeting.

Simply say something like:

“I notice you haven’t had time to prepare yourself for our last few meetings. Would it help if I sent you the information earlier or is there anything else I can do for you?”

If you’re a manager, you can be a bit firmer and ask the meeting participant to do his/her research going forward.

 

5. Bad meeting habit #5: Not speaking at all or not speaking their mind

Meeting Best Practices

There’s one of them at every meeting:

The meeting participant who doesn’t utter a word throughout the meeting.

Why is this a problem?

Simple:

They could as well not be there.

These meeting participants don’t bring anything to the table.

At the same time, they probably have valuable information and insights to share.

After all, there’s a reason they work at your organization, and there’s a reason they’re at the meeting.

Meetings are teamwork, and that’s why it’s essential that everyone participates.

But simply pressuring people to speak won’t work.

There are several reasons why co-workers sit silent and not that many are due to laziness.

For example:

These co-workers might be introverted, or they might not be comfortable speaking publicly.

There are a few things you can do to encourage them to participate in the meeting.

First:

Make sure that you send out an agenda before the meeting.

For example:

Our own tool, Minute, is the perfect tool to collaboratively prepare and distribute the agenda before the meeting.

That way, shy employees get a chance to prepare themselves for the meeting.

Another option is to address people by name during the meeting.

For example:

You can directly ask silent employees to give their opinion on issues related to their expertise.

Third (if you’re in a managerial position):

The last resort is to give feedback to those employees that repeatedly keep silent during meetings.

Ask them to speak up at the next meeting and make sure to give specific feedback so that they know how to improve.

 

What are your best effective meeting strategies?

There you go.

These are our best practices for productive meetings.

By getting rid of these 5 annoying meeting behaviors your meetings will feel meaningful again.

And look… Meeting best practices are crucial for your organization.

Otherwise, your organization risks extra costs, lost productivity and employee dissatisfaction.

At your next meeting, make sure to identify any annoying behavior that impacts your meetings.

And:

What are YOUR best effective meeting management tips? How do you get rid of annoying behavior and turn a boring meeting around?

Let us know in the comments below.