Search Google for “Meeting Mistakes” and you’ll pull up 52,200,000 results. That’s a lot of meeting mistakes! But after about ten articles you’ll start to see the same mistakes listed again and again. And none of them include some of the biggest meeting problems companies have.
Common wisdom says that you should have the fewest meetings possible and that meetings are a necessary evil at best. But the truth is, meetings are essential to a company’s success--if you run them properly.
Your Biggest Meeting Mistakes
So what are the biggest meeting mistakes? Here are the seven mistakes no one talks about.
- Not following a process for meetings. Process makes perfect! Implementing a meeting process helps increase efficiency and incrementally improves your meetings.
- Solving the first issues, not the top issues. First issues are the items that appear first on the list. Top issues are the highest-priority concerns. Begin by prioritizing the top 3, most important issues and then address number 1. Identify the underlying root cause, clarifying what needs to be resolved. Discuss proposed solutions and conclude--decide what you will do to solve the issue. Then move to number 2 and 3 using the same approach. Repeat that same issue solving process with the next 3 most important issues, working your way through the entire list. Often, you’ll find that as you move through the list, some of the remaining issues have been resolved because they were connected to high-priority issues.
- Avoiding conflict. Okay, this one might be familiar but it’s worth repeating. It may be more polite to sit down and not rock the boat, but conflict is really just an opportunity to create greater unity and get everyone moving forward together. Glossing over the issue might make for a more pleasant meeting, but it won’t resolve resentment or align conflicting visions. Eventually things will come to a head.
- Not holding people accountable. Make sure the tasks that were assigned at the previous meeting were completed. Follow up from one meeting to the next and ask each person if they completed their task. If not, what’s standing in the way? Drop the issue onto an issues list and make sure it gets resolved so the to-do can be completed by the next meeting.
- Losing sight of your goals. Make sure the objectives of the meeting are clear so everyone is on the same page before the meeting gets started. Always keep in mind how the objectives of the meeting support the goals of the company. Everything you do should contribute to achieving your company’s vision.
- Not concluding the meeting. End your meetings within the time allotted. At the end of each meeting, recap the to-do list and determine if any messages need to be communicated to the organization. This helps you make sure everyone is on the same page and all expectations are understood, both within the group and across the company.
- Not rating the meeting. Have you ever ended a meeting where the leader says “Great meeting, everyone!” and everyone else grumbles their way down the hallway? Meeting ratings will solve this problem quickly. At the end of the meeting, everyone in the room should rate the quality of the meeting on a scale of 1 to 10. Anyone who rates the meeting 8 or less should give a reason for their rating. This helps improve the meetings moving forward, and gives the meeting leader specific feedback to act on.