We spent so many times on a 2-hour meeting that could have been an email. You’ll notice the moment where there’s no specific agenda (worse if the meeting has one but nobody sticks to it).
It is pretty easy to run an unproductive meeting. Dragging discussion for hours, delaying your team from getting back to work to make actual progress.
Follow this tips if you want to frustrate your team with long, agonizing meetings:
No set-up until everyone is in the room
Why would you want to connect your laptop to the projectors 5 minutes before everyone come? Let your team see you plugging the right connector cable and configuring the display like a pro. If it doesn’t work, don’t bother to call IT for help until 10 minutes or so have passed. Your team will appreciate your effort and being in a meeting that doesn’t start on time.
Review previous discussions while adding nothing new
Allocate the first 30 minutes for “Confirmation of minutes of the previous meeting.” By pointing out notes from the previous discussion, you may deliberately remind your team which task is still in progress. At this point, avoid adding anything worth to the table. Instead, make it clear to everyone to focus on completing their task. Let them know not to waste time on any unproductive activities.
Don’t prepare an agenda, or skip it if you have one
Outlines for a meeting agenda keep the schedule to wrap the meeting on time. Your agenda makes the entire discussion more focused and involved. Avoid this by walking through your train of thought by talking endlessly on irrelevant topics rather than keeping everyone focus on the goals of the meeting.
Avoid making decisions during the meeting
A good meeting is about collecting information, weighing options and coming up with a solution. Running an unproductive meeting, you shouldn’t come up with a concrete decision and let your team assume what the next action plan is. You can always follow up on it at the next meeting.
I don’t have problems with meetings, but those unproductive ones that are wasting my time. Meetings are essential to make everybody on the same page, working towards the same goal. But it's worth nothing unless everyone started getting things done.