Your meeting stinks and this is why…

Meeting Stinks

Your meeting stinks and this is why…


Recently the Harvard business review shared an article on this subject.


A VP at  large corporate firm recently had a 360 evaluation done on his performance. He achieved well in all areas of his management skill. However, feedback showed that he lacked in 1 critical area: Leading effective meetings. Many attendees described his meetings as a “time suck”. Sound familiar?

He got feedback like – The meetings went on too long, he had too many meetings too often and the environment wasn’t conducive to critical thinking.


Research suggest that of the 23 hours that executives spend in meetings up to 8 hours are unproductive. Some 90% of people report daydreaming, 73% admit to be doing other work in the meeting. Yet another study shows that leader consistently rate their own meetings much higher than attendees do.


A telephone survey of more than 1300 managers found that 79% said that the meetings they initiated were very important yet 56% of them said the meetings they attended were unimportant, a clear indication of “I’m not the problem.” At Jaijin Tong of Peking University found that most active participants felt the meeting to be most effective but yet the leaders still spoke most of the time.


Some of the areas that attendees commonly site in surveys are:

  • Unplanned or Irrelevant agendas
  • Overly long duration
  • Lack of focus


Apart from actual time wasted, estimated to be more than $ 30 billion in the US alone. Leaders may find that ineffective meetings failing the best use of their office talent might lead to their own erosion of power and influence in their leadership.


Meetings can effectively bring together ideas and opinions and allow people to do their jobs in a more productive co-operative manner. They help individuals form a coherent whole, adaptive resilience and self directing behaviour. So the goal would be not to kill meetings but to have more effective ones.


Steven G Rogelberg (Prof in Organizational Science and Psychology)  did a talk at a HR conference to some of the Top Fortune 500 companies. He asked the question – How many included questions about meeting effectiveness in their employment engagement. Not one hand went up in the audience. He went on further to say that 75% of meetings conducted today have never been under any formal training on how to conduct these meetings. It is imperative to manager and leaders today to do the following:



  • Better leadership require better self observation
  • Were people distracted?
  • Were people engaged?
  • Was I the only one speaking?
  • Were all ideas expresses similar?
  • Who did the most talking?
  • Was the meeting planned?
  • Was there an agenda
  • What was my intention for having this meeting?




People routine ignore best practice when it comes to presentations, client work or meetings.

  • Plan even if for just a few meetings
  • Make deliberate choices and steer away from routine
  • Ask others to suggest agenda to increase ownership and engagement
  • If you don’t have clear agenda cancel the meeting
  • Decide who needs to be there and who doesn’t
  • Focus on time and place – when its becomes routine people glaze over and don’t engage
  • Move to a different venue
  • Create a new time slot of only 50min and stick to it
  • For high-stakes meeting have pre – mortem



  • Starts the moment attendees walk into the room
  • Promote a sense of presence and importance of the attendees
  • Greet people at the door
  • Express gratitude for their time
  • Offer snacks, play some music and get them to turn off their devices
  • Become a steward of the meeting and facilitate time and questions effectively
  • Play the supportive role to ensure attendees feel safe to share their ideas


For assistance or workshops on meeting preparation or presentation skills lets connect and chat more about it – and here is a great example of how to set up a survey