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Meeting Mistakes: Avoid These 3 Common Pitfalls

If you are tired your weekly staff meeting, chances are your staff is too! It is frustrating to get your team together and not making any progress. If you aren’t getting the engagement or results you want from your meetings, it’s time to make a change.

Avoid these 3 common mistakes as you plan your next meeting. (And yes, you should take time to plan your meetings.)

Mistake 1: There is no defined purpose.

Purpose is the key to powering up your next meeting. We are all looking for ways to be more effective, efficient, and influential. Give your next meeting a power boost by examining its purpose.

If you have a weekly staff meeting because you’ve always had a weekly staff meeting, it is time to look a little closer at the purpose. Coming together for a chat is something best left to lunch time or happy hour. If you are having a meeting, it should have a clear purpose, outlined agenda, and general timeline. If you your purpose isn’t clear or strong enough, it’s okay to cancel or postpone a meeting. I am certain no one will be left wondering what to do with all the extra time.

We’ve become reliant on video conferencing. Carrying on as though the way we communicate hasn’t changed how you hold meetings isn’t good for your culture. Look at meetings from a strategic level. There may be some you don’t need, some that could be combined, some that should be divided, or some that just need a revision in form and content.

Mistake 2: The meeting isn’t engaging.

Keeping people engaged in a meeting can be difficult. Just like keeping students engaged in a class. People show up, information is pushed, perhaps there is a little discussion but nothing really happens, no real progress is made or seen. I’ve seen it

start to happen more frequently, that people show up to a virtual meeting, they are on mute and their video is off. For the entire meeting they won’t be see or heard. Are they even there? I’ve even heard of people recording themselves in a meeting to play back during other meetings, so they appear "there". That is an innovative solution, but not really helpful to anyone.

Making sure they know the purpose is helpful and important. But if the purpose is passive (perhaps to inform or update), employ methods to actively engaged participants. One idea is to regularly incorporate team building into the agenda. This doesn’t have to be long or elaborate. Simply allowing time for people to learn about each other can have an engaging result. Start with a simple roll call and question to answer.

Mistake 3: There is “dead” air.

Plan ahead to avoid this problem. It happens when people aren’t comfortable asking questions, or sharing information with one another. This is especially easy to come by in a virtual meeting. Someone asks the inevitable question… “Are there any questions?” The intent of this question is okay, but the results can be varied. So often, the response to this question, is silence. Awkward silence. There are three reasons for this. One is that people don’t want to interrupt someone else with a question, Second, there are genuinely no questions. Third, people just want the meeting to end. Well, that isn’t going to move anything forward. Instead of a general question, ask for input from people specifically.

Putting a little planning into your meeting will help you see changes. If you are interested in learning more about making your next meeting more effective, let me know and I’ll send you my top 6 tips for making meetings more effective.

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