Did you roll your eyes the last time someone said, “Let’s have a meeting to discuss that issue?” You’re not alone. You’d think after all these years we’d be pretty good at having productive meetings. But we’re not. Ineffective meetings cost companies millions of dollars. Are you the meeting leader everybody loves to hate? Let’s see.
1. Never plan your meetings — Always send a last minute notice for critical meetings so participants have to scramble to adjust their calendars. Friday afternoon at 4pm is an excellent time to have a really important meeting. As the meeting begins, make sure you wait until everyone is in the room to decide what the agenda will be. Punish the people who arrive on time by making them wait for the meeting stragglers, then extend the meeting an hour or so after the expected end time to ensure you get all the topics covered.
2. Invite the wrong people — Don’t invite the decision makers; always dig deep into the hierarchy to get to the people who have absolutely no authority to make the kind of decision you are seeking. A huge meeting of nonessential people is always more effective than a small, discreet group. Watch the politics — on the meeting invitation make sure you copy everyone you can think of, just in case.
3. Keep the meeting outcome a secret — Absolutely do not take notes of the meeting discussion and important decisions. You’ll want to keep these secret to ensure no one remembers what was discussed or decided. If someone insists on taking notes, gather them up at the end of the meeting, compile them and wait a few weeks before sending to the meeting participants.
What meeting behaviors do you love to hate? Do tell in the comments.
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