Are meetings at your company a free-for-all?
Do they deteriorate into something that resembles near chaos?
I have seen many corporate meetings that are less organized than a kindergarten class recess.
Today, let’s address our bad meeting behavior.
Meetings Gone Bad
When did we start allowing this bad meeting behavior?
Why do meeting settings tend to bring out the worst in employee conduct?
It is no secret that most business meetings are a mess.
No preparation. No agenda. No action.
Sometimes you have to wonder, what’s the point?
Many corporate meetings simply aren’t worth having.
When did getting people to sit in a room become an essential business activity?
Add some bad behavior to the mix, and you have a recipe for disaster.
It’s time to stop tolerating bad meeting behavior.
Bad Behaviors = Bad Meetings
You might get some initial resistance or hurt feelings when you start to clean up your meetings.
After all, people have been getting away with these things for a long time.
But, it you stick with it, you might just get a reputation for running an efficient and respectful environment. One that people want to participate in.
Here are 10 Bad Meeting Behaviors to Stop Tolerating:
- Working During the Meeting - If you are going to work during the meeting, then why did you come to the meeting? Head down, clicking on your keyboard is not acceptable. Excuse these individuals and let them go catch up on their work.
- Eating in the Meeting - When did it become acceptable to have a feast during the meeting? The occasional snack bar might be understandable. However, if your participants feel like they need to bring a meal, you need to check the timing and duration of the meeting.
- Cell Phone/Tablet – Some think they will go under the radar, or under the table, if they use their phone or tablet to do other things in the meeting. Think no one will notice? Think again. We can see you checking Facebook. I recently watched an executive play Words With Friends in a client presentation. Instead, go tech-less. Have participants check devices at the door if you must. Some companies keep storage baskets in their meeting rooms for just this purpose.
- Not Participating - Every meeting has one. Someone who is there, but not really there. There could be important reasons why they are distracted. However, if their mind is somewhere else, they probably should be , too. If they have urgent business to attend to, that is good. If they just don’t want to be there, that is a performance issue.
- Taking Phone Calls – I can’t believe this one has to be said. But, it really does. We have all been in a meeting recently where someone not only interrupts the meeting with a ringing phone, but then actually answers the call in the meeting. At a minimum, have the courtesy to step out of the room and excuse yourself.
- Texting – Yes, we can see you tapping on your phone. You are not making eye contact if you are staring at your phone screen, nor are you paying attention. And yes, we also know that you are texting your friend across the table.
- The Filibuster - You know, the one that likes to talk. Once they get the mic, they don’t yield. I observed a meeting recently where someone stood up and spoke for 45 minutes on a topic not even related to the meeting. Be firm, and don’t let your meeting get hijacked.
- Fighting – I have seen meeting smack-downs that are plain childish. It actually sounds like a 2nd grade class. Don’t permit these attacks. These acts are inexcusable and more hurtful that most realize. To be honest, often these are HR issues in disguise. Eject those that mistreat or attack others.
- Arriving Late – Don’t let those that are more than 5 minutes late join the meeting. Ask them to catch up with one of the participants later. Showing up 25 minutes in an hour meeting is disrespectful to everyone that was there on time.
- No Show No Excuse – How many times have you sat in a meeting and everyone is sitting around a table going, “Is Stu coming?” “I don’t know.” Empower your team members with the “Right to Decline” meetings. However, not showing without declining is unaccepted.
Cleaning Up the Act
Get your meetings under control.
Don’t tolerate those that behave badly.
Expect better. Expect more.
You just might set a new standard for your organization.
And if people don’t want to behave, tell them that recess is outside.
How do you deal with bad meeting behavior?