Bad Habits in Meetings - unfortunately, we all know (or even have) them

Being late, not stopping to chat and not paying attention...now you probably think about the classroom of a Middle School - unfortunately - that is reality in the average meeting room. You can prepare a meeting as well as you want, being the chairman or a participant but how to go about all these annoying habits? Should I just accept them? For the one, who is always sharp, on time and manages others to do the same, this article might be irrelevant. For the other 99%...Here are the five biggest points of irritations and tips so you know what can be done.

Being late

If a meeting begins at 3 o’clock, it doesn’t mean to be at the meeting location at 3 o’clock, only five minutes earlier, so that you can really start at 3 o’clock. To be late is not only annoying for the person organizing the meeting but for everyone participating. How do I deal with a notorious latecomer? Friendly point out that his behavior has consequences for the rest as well and that others have the feeling that they have to start all over again to make sure to include the latecomer.

Bad preparation.

You can recognize this if the questions someone asks can be immediately answered by all the other participants. So it was probably mentioned in the provided documents. It is annoying to spend time in the meeting on updating someone. If an agenda is provided, make use of it. It is a waste of time to reschedule an agenda item only because participants aren’t prepared. Do you feel like there are others that didn’t get prepared for the meeting that you planned? Ask if you can do anything to help them. Is it a time issue? Just provide the agenda a day in advance.

Doing other things.

If you only sit at the table the whole time to check your mails or whatsapp, you might as well not be present at all. And for everyone thinking that they can listen and writing an email effectively at the same time: that is simply not true. By the practice of two tasks you literally do both tasks only half as good. It usually takes 20 minutes to reach the level of focus again. Can you really not resist the temptation of your mobile phone? Then the solution is simple. Just don’t take it with you and make this meeting count!

Not listening.

If your input wasn’t important, you wouldn’t have been invited. So if you are present, take part in the conversation. Keep your attention glued to it and share your findings. If you don’t understand something, simply ask questions. That is more appreciated than saying nothing at all. Say it it you don’t agree with something. As long as you don’t verbally harass someone, other opinions are often valued. That can trigger a discussion and people to see other perspectives. Do you notice that someone is always silent in your meetings? Then ask participants for their specific opinion. Or talk to the participant after the meeting: check if he or she had time to get prepared beforehand.

Cannot stop talking.

This is the other extreme. It is alright to add to the meeting but let others speak up as well. A meeting shouldn’t be one-way communication. There is a chance that those who say nothing will do that because of you. If you notice that someone else is getting all the attention? Say that you are interested to hear what others think about this opinion. As last resort you could even establish a maximum/minimum speaking time per person.

We hope that our tips can help you to have the best meetings ever without wasting any of your energy on annoying meeting habits. If you are in a meeting-situation and want tips to don’t hesitate to contact us; we are here to help!

Happy Meetings!