Tell most business people that there’s another meeting on their agenda, and you’ll likely see them shake their head, roll their eyes, and mumble something under their breath. That’s because nearly all meetings succumb to a few pet peeves—those annoying meeting happenings that derail the meeting’s purpose, waste time, and cause friction and frustration among attendees.
While all types of meetings fall prey to pet peeves, it’s the process-oriented, information sharing meetings that most business people dislike…and that are the most common. Even though the role of this sort of meetings is to keep others informed and to learn how what they’re doing fits in the big picture, many people leave these types of meetings feeling confused, aggravated, and sometimes overwhelmed.
This is a huge problem for business, because if a meeting isn’t informative at the very least and enjoyable at the most, then the company is wasting a lot of money getting people together. Additionally, if your meetings aren’t on the mark, you’ll get the reputation for holding poor meetings, which erodes morale and productivity.
To ensure your meetings are effective, informative and enjoyable , be aware of the top five meeting pet peeves and avoid them at all costs. The following is the first pet peeve in a weekly series of five.
Pet Peeve #1: Not Having an Agenda or Not Sticking to One
The top three rules for Toastmasters are to start the meeting on time, end it on time, and always have an agenda. This rule should be true for business meeting too.
Having an agenda is not only simple courtesy; it also tells attendees that the meeting has a goal and will be productive. An agenda gives the meeting facilitator control over the meeting’s flow, keeps the meeting on task, and reduces confusion among participants. Realize that the agenda does not need to be elaborate; a simple bullet list of topics is all you need to prepare.
Remember to send the agenda out a day or so before the meeting so attendees can prepare. And if you forget to send it out early, bring copies of the agenda to hand out when the meeting starts. On meeting day, stick with the agenda. If a topic comes up in conversation that is not on the agenda, offer to address that topic after the meeting. This way you keep the meeting on schedule and don’t derail the meeting’s purpose.