We all have them. Some of us like them, some not so. Some are useful, some not. Some have purpose, some not. Some of them are to discuss the outcome of a previous meeting, whereas some are the initiation of a new project and are essential to build relationships in a new team who have not worked together.

But what kind of meetings have you been in? Here are some negative behaviours I’ve seen over the last 25+ years of attending meetings for work:

  • Taking or making phone calls in the meeting. And not leaving the room
  • Taking shoes (and socks, on one occasion) off
  • Tapping away on laptop or phone
  • Sleeping (yes, I kid you not!)
  • No clear leader/facilitator, leads to rambling conversations and lack of focus
  • Lack of preparation or focus to meeting
  • Too many or wrong people invited to the meeting
  • Arriving late
  • Taking over meeting for personal goal, not the meeting goal
  • Having a meeting when an email would do

However, it is not all bad. I have had the pleasure of attending really useful and well-run meetings too, of which:

  • Boundaries and purpose are set in advance and managed throughout
  • Short and sweet, no more or less than is required
  • Right number of people present for the purpose of the meeting
  • Clear agenda, outcomes and action points, followed up by confirmation of responsibilities
  • Pre=meeting notes and information for preparation
  • Respectful and inclusive dialogue from all participants (see the 10 components of Thinking Environments)
  • Biscuits (!)
  • No suprrises

Photo by Benjamin Child on Unsplash