Bad meetings can happen to good people. As someone who has hosted meetings about planning meetings, here are a few things to consider when organizing your own.

What makes a bad meeting? Here are some real-world examples direct from a local boardroom during a meeting about meetings. Yes, you read that right.

(Best of the) Worst Meeting Practices and How To Fix Them:

  • Wrong room! Oops, the meeting has been moved but no one knew.
    • Book your room early and be sure it will fit your needs so that you don’t have to make last-minute room changes.
    • Think about the most convenient room setup. Classroom style or U-shape? This should facilitate the purpose of the meeting (presentation or discussion).
  • Can you hear me? Can you please mute yourself? Tech issues!
    • Whenever possible, do a dry run of the meeting in the room you plan to use. This should be done at least a day in advance, or at the very least an hour prior to the start of the meeting.
    • Determine what meeting platform will best suit your needs. GoToMeeting and WebEx have different options depending on your needs.
  • Where’s the coffee? Where’s the bathroom?
    • Know your audience and their expectations, especially for longer meetings.
    • Be familiar with the meeting room and surrounding area so you can direct attendees as needed.
    • Place table tents with Wi-fi login instructions or include this info on the agenda or a slide and be sure there are power strips at the table to charge laptops and other devices.
  • What’s the point?
    • Focused agendas sent out in advance of the meeting are a plus to get everyone on the same page with expectations.
    • Common goals are at the heart of why this meeting is needed and should be reflected in the agenda.
    • Revisit the frequency of this meeting, or reaffirm the purpose as needed.
    • Succinct visual presentations with large graphics and easy-to-read charts help engage audience.
  • Free-for-all discussion gone wild! Meetings derailed by a select (loud) few.
    • A respectable (and personable) chairperson should essentially emcee the show and be able to rein in those who dominate discussions or walk the tightrope of professionalism.
    • Set time for Q & A opportunities to foster discussion and allow others to provide feedback.
  • The eternal meeting…you know, that one that was supposed to end 10 minutes ago.
    • Keep track of time! Monitor the clock and keep things moving.
    • Follow up with attendees to recap meeting actions and provide a copy of presentation slides after the meeting.

More expert meeting planning resources:

A Quick Fix for Death by Power Point

Seven Steps to Running the Most Effective Meeting Possible

How to Run a More Effective Meeting

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1 Comment
Sarah Bland says:

Also, expect the unexpected.  Expect some people might wanted printed agendas, or pen/paper.  Expect what files may be discussed and need to be presented on WebEx/slides.  

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