Meetings happen daily in the workplace. They can be productive, agonizing, creative, annoying, enlightening, dull, and never as efficient as they should be. As many different types of business meetings occur in the work week, there are that many number of different responses attendees have to those meetings.
If employees aren’t engaged, as a leader you are wasting your time; in fact, you could even be causing damage to your business. When was the last time you examined how many meetings you have and how they are conducted?
If your meeting attendees are experiencing any of the following four emotional responses to your meetings, it is time for some revamping.
Dread – When attendees feel as if “Here we go again,” you’ve totally lost them, and productivity is out the window. Why do people dread meetings? Either the meetings are a distraction from their true productivity and accomplish little, or the meetings are not properly conducted. A manager at one client told me the Wednesday morning managers meeting was worse than getting a root canal. That is positively dreadful.
Frustrated – When meeting decisions are made that either never get put into place or are short-lived, no one will believe the results of future meetings. When a manager promises steak dinners and delivers convenience store hot dogs, people get upset. So many times during strategic planning sessions, I hear awesome ideas and even plans to implement those ideas. Everyone in the room is excited. People are pumped about the direction of the organization and a month later…wah, wah, wah. Nothing happens.
If even half of the agreed to actions talked about in business meetings actually occurred as planned, businesses would be thriving so much more! Stop frustrating your people. When something is appointed to get accomplished, follow it through to the end.
Déjà vu – Back in my former life in the corporate world, we had a meeting we called the Shower Meeting. Not only were we told our new ideas were all wet, but it was wash, rinse, repeat every week. Nothing new, nothing changed, and no matter our results, we got bashed. Over and over. We knew how the meeting was going to go before we even got in there. In fact, at one point a few of the managers were so disengaged, they started playing (Boss’s name) Bingo. 25 of his favorite phrases, key words, and stories were on the card. If someone got Bingo, they got lunch free the next day.
If your meetings are sounding like the same recorded message over and over, your attendees are lost in a sense of Déjà vu. I imagine your results are suffering the same experience. What are you doing to mix up your meetings to better engage attendees?
Pointless – When people feel they just wasted an hour or two, you’ve totally lost the positive nature of the meeting and people are more interested in leaving or skipping them all together!
It is not uncommon for volunteer board members to miss as many meetings as they can get away with and still be considered board members. Many organizations struggle with this. Once attendees no longer consider the meeting of value, they will find higher priorities to fill that time slot. Employees will do the same thing, only while sitting in the meeting room. They simply check out until the meeting is over.
If you witness any of these behaviors, it’s time to re-evaluate your meeting structure and frequency. Meetings are a necessary part of communication. Make sure your meetings are constructive, engaging and positive.