When I run my time management workshops I often find that companies have been sucked into having regular meetings and often they’re run very badly.
Here are some ways that a meeting can go wrong:
a) attendees arriving late
b) People talking to their neighbour (off-topic) during the meeting
c) People wanting to only talk about their topic and hijacking the agenda
d) Weak chairmanship
e) No agenda, "because we know what we’re going to discuss"
f) No follow-up on action items from the previous week
g) Missing attendees who are needed and didn’t say they would be missing
h) Action minutes from previous meeting not available for the meeting
i) Having people attend for the whole meeting when they are only needed for one topic and could leave after it
j) Allowing one person to dominate the meeting and make their point, air their grievance, change the topic mid-stream or give their biased point of view
k) Allowing agenda items to go way over their allotted time (remember the time allocation is only a guide, but it’s a good guide)
l) Meeting length is dictated by the agenda
m) The agenda should not be so long that people lose the will to live part way through. Only you will know what is the right length. Saying it should be 10 minutes, 30 minutes or an hour is irrelevant if you don’t cover your agenda items.
n) The type of meeting makes a difference, for instance an IT project status meeting can be short, whereas a manufacturing plant meeting could be half a day. It all depends on what you need to do and by when
p) The worst thing to do is to come out of the meeting with no action notes and with people unclear as to what they should be doing. So always have a summary of actions at the meeting end.
q) Not sending out an agenda based on the required actions from the meeting and new issues since
r) Having regular meetings that are no longer productive or required