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We’ve all been there. We’ve all sat through unproductive or poorly planned meetings, only to realize afterwards that you could’ve been doing real work instead. But here at Attentiv we wondered: what’s bothering people the most? Did it have to do with dynamics of certain meeting participants, unintelligible meeting minutes, or lack of an agenda? Curious, we asked the community and collected some of the most insightful responses. Here’s what you said!


1. Meeting for the sake of meeting

Chester Goad,

First, avoid meeting for the sake of meeting. If you can put everything you need to say in an email or a newsletter without causing much anxiety or angst, you probably don’t need a meeting and you’ll save people time, and everyone will likely meet their deadlines and complete their projects. Also, if the information is typical or benign, an email update may be the better alternative as well. Second, if you have new information or you’re making significant changes or the info is sensitive, you probably need to meet. Don’t avoid meetings to the point of neglecting relationships with your colleagues. It may even be better to have individual meetings if you’re staff is not too large. If you choose to go that route, you might still consider offering some social opportunities that bring everyone together without a useless meeting.


2. Lots of talk, little action

-Deborah Coombs,

Some of my biggest pet peeves are meetings without a clear agenda, and meetings where lots of talk happens, but not a lot of decisions are made. A huge pet peeve of mine is a chair who doesn’t ensure that decisions are made, documented, and action items assigned to the proper individuals. You just end up addressing the same items again next time you meet.


3. What’s going on?

-Keith Casey,

My biggest pet peeve is the simplest to solve: Send a freaking agenda with the invite list! I hate walking into a meeting – in person or online – without a clue of who else is in the room or what we’ll be talking about. It’s a waste of time and prevents people from preparing. By sending the who and what of the meeting, I can prepare for questions, tune my answers for the group, and even know which questions will be productive to ask.


4. The four deadly meeting participant archetypes

-Greg Jenkins:

  • The person who arrives late and expects the person next to them to explain what has transpired, while the presenter is speaking.
  • The person who is constantly texting during the meeting and not paying attention. It’s a distraction to others and very rude behavior to the speaker.
  • The attendee who becomes the showcase and dominates the meeting by asking 20 million questions that should be addressed to the presenter after the meeting.
  • The speaker who hands out materials and addresses the same points in the presentation or PowerPoint. I can read the materials on my own. The speaker should delve into more of the details that are not in the handouts.


5. PowerPoint to death

-Brian Patterson,

What tends to annoy me most in meetings is the misuse of PowerPoint.  There are the little things, like typos or page numbers being off, which are annoying because it tells me people didn’t care enough to proof their work.  But what is worse than that is when PowerPoint is used but is totally unnecessary, like in quick status meetings.  And, on the flip side, when PowerPoint is not used but would be totally helpful to visualize information and data, like in key business meetings.  Learn PowerPoint, people.


What about meetings bugs you most? Let us know in the comments below!

Categories: Best Practices Meetings

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