Why No One Likes Meetings: A Leader’s Guide

According to research published in the Harvard Business Review, 65% of upper managers say meetings interfere with their work, and 71% said they were not productive and inefficient. Why do these events have such a poor reputation? Because most of the people leading them don’t know how to conduct a meeting properly.

2meet recommends adopting a few simple rules to make your meetings useful, and thereby give your colleagues more motivation to attend:

1) Do not invite people to the meeting if they aren’t needed there. 
For example, suppose the boss wants to make up for giving insufficient attention to some employees and invites them to a meeting. If the person isn’t relevant there, then they can only hinder the meeting. They may give unhelpful ideas or simple not listen and wind up feeling useless. Gather only people who have something to say about the topic of the meeting.

2) Be sure to make note of and say the decisions you reach out loud.
In order to avoid missing anything important, before you start discussing issues, assign one person to write down the main ideas of the meeting. Ask for feedback during the meeting—check to make sure they caught and understood what is being said. Repeat yourself if necessary. Many people are afraid to look stupid, and so they just keep quiet, and end up with unsolved problems to handle on their own.

3) Assign responsibility for completing specific tasks to specific people.
Just saying “we’re agreed” or “decision made” doesn’t guarantee that anything will happen. If you’re discussing something for each individual employee to do, ask them to report to you about their progress through a messenger. If you are discussing something more generalized, make someone responsible for it and set a time when you will ask that person about their results.

4) Help people prepare for meetings.
When you announce a meeting, you should tell the attendees what you expect to hear from each person—perhaps a report about their recently work or a discussion about what to give employees for the holidays. Preparation helps the group reach decisions faster and reduces the amount of time waste during meetings.

5) Have a clear start and end time for each meeting.
Every employee should know when the meeting starts and ends so that they can plan their duties with minimal loss of productivity.

6) Let everyone speak.
Last but not least, although companies are structured and there are standards and hierarchies in every company, a meeting is supposed to be all about communication. You can see interesting points of view on a problem your may not have found on your own by hearing out the people at your meetings. You can’t take everything into account, but when you listen, you boost your chances of success.

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