It’s a universal truth.
You know it. I know it. Your Tesco delivery driver knows it.
They suck so much that this certified genius and passive aggressive rockstar has used his precious time to create a calculator to demonstrate how much money you and your team are wasting with unnecessary discussions.
In fact, UK office workers spend more than 10 hours each week on meetings.
Here’s 5 signs your team meetings aren’t working. And how to fix them.
The vanity meeting
This is the most common form of useless meeting and the signs are all around you. Often hosted by the team member who loves to look busy and likes everyone know how stressed they are. Long, freeform and with no firm outcomes, the vanity meeting is the one that covers decisions that could’ve been made in a one-sentence email.
How to deal with it: don’t attend. Ever. Suggest a drive-by instead – a quick huddle at someone’s desk.
The ‘didn’t we discuss this before’ meeting
No, this wasn’t in your dream last night, but this meeting really is the stuff of nightmares. The endless actions discussed but never realised. Is it a good idea that’s being missed or something we never should have agreed to? Who knows. But it needs to stop.
How to deal with it: define and record actions, review actions at the end of the meeting, delegate them to an owner, agree a follow up. Seriously, it’s not that hard.
The ‘are they on Tinder?!!?’ meeting
You’ve got the attention span of a Dory, but even you aren’t swiping on hunnies during the morning standup. The person with better weekend plans than you is holding back this critical meeting by being present physically only. They agree new processes but don’t remember them later, and their potentially-useful insights are missing from the conversation.
How to deal with it: get a facilitator to call them out, or get them a date with your best single buddy.
The ‘why am I here’ meeting
The team’s plans for the Christmas social sound amazing but the last time you socialised outside of work hours was 1996 and that’s because your mum drove you to the school disco. This is the meeting that should happen, but probably not with you attending.
How to deal with it: Walk out. Gracefully and respectfully.
The ‘ain’t nobody got time for that’ meeting
As seen in extended creative meetings. The topic’s important, the right people are present and you’ve got your agenda ready. Only one thing is missing… the energy. Whether it’s too many fully-stacked fries at lunch, or midweek blues these meetings start with great intentions but ultimately die a defeated ‘will that do’ death.
How to deal with it: This one’s for the meeting facilitator: change up the format, bring sweets, or reorganise for another time.
The ‘I’m not prepared for this’ meeting
It’s like being at school again. Del’s got his monthly marketing report and Irene has three great quantitative insights to underpin her new product experiment. But you’re out here all alone. No one told you the planning was necessary and now you need to wing it. Leaving your worst work in the meeting and your chance for meaningful change in dust. Maybe next time?
How to deal with it: Be upfront. You don’t have the information to hand, but will follow up with thoughts later over email / Slack or smoke signal. Qualify future meetings with ‘what do I need to prep’. Or just read the agenda next time.