Seven Symptoms of Bad Meetings and What You Can Do About Them

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Losing Focus

People are doing their own thing during the meeting – texting, talking on the phone, responding to email, carrying on unrelated conversations.

One way to avoid this is to establish ground rules that everyone agrees on before the meeting begins. These rules include removing temptation by setting limits on texting, email and phone conversations, and requiring people to listen without interrupting. Even if people have agreed in advance to these rules, they may need to be reminded of the ground rules at the beginning of the meeting or during the meeting itself if the rule-breaking is particularly egregious. Such reminding may be done by fellow members or by the meeting leader if there is one.

The door to the meeting room opens and it's the person who called the meeting, running 10 minutes late because the previous meeting ended late and he had to stop by his office and pick up some notes to remind him of what this meeting was about. The folks already in the room are discussing last night's game and wondering how long the meeting is going to last. Only one person remembers getting the notes from the last meeting. And he's the only one that has a copy of the report they're supposed to discuss.

Does this sound or feel familiar? You're not alone. One topic that everyone can agree on is this: Meetings are often a waste of time and money. Scary meeting statistics abound. According to an infographic from software company Atlassian, U.S. businesses waste $37 billion a year. Some of that meeting time may have been wasted in your organization. What is strange is why this situation isn't on the top of anyone's list to get fixed. If we are wasting billions, why don't corporations make the effort to fix the problem? Perhaps it boils down to a lack of accountability. But this is something that is entirely within our control. Here are some symptoms of bad meetings, identified by Joel D. Levitt, and what you can do to fix them.

With more than 30 years of management experience in the maintenance and engineering fields, Joel D. Levitt is a leading trainer of manufacturing, operational and maintenance professionals – having trained more than 15,000 maintenance leaders from 3,000 organizations in 25 countries. Since 1980, Levitt has been the president of Springfield Resources, a management consulting firm servicing clients of all sizes on a wide range of maintenance issues, and is currently the Director of International Projects at Life Cycle Engineering. Mr. Levitt is the author of 10 popular books and over 150 articles on maintenance management, as well a frequent speaker at related industry conferences.

 

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