Why Meetings Fail and how to Get Them Back on Track

Ever feel that some meetings seem like a waste of time? You are not alone. Meetings tend to take up a significant portion of our work days; and more often than not people feel like meetings didn’t accomplish anything.

Not only can this be frustrating, but it also takes up time that could be spent productively in other tasks or projects. Still, meetings seem to be a necessary evil for most professionals.

Why do meetings fail?

  • There is no agenda: there is no follow up from previous meetings, no clear purpose
  • It’s ill-timed: meetings should be scheduled at a time that won’t interrupt attendees days or other work projects
  • It’s too long: if a meeting takes too long, it’s likely that people’s thoughts and attention will go elsewhere; this is why it’s important to have an agenda and to stick to it
  • Lack of participation: attendees aren’t encouraged to participate or they aren’t taken seriously when they do, so they don’t share their ideas or thoughts
  • No follow-up: no follow-up to a meeting, with notes or a minute clearly stating what the next steps are; the meeting didn’t accomplish anything and the circle will repeat itself


Luckily, there are ways in which to make meetings more efficient and make sure that the time is well-spent.

  • Start and end on time: whether or not all participants are there, you should always start on time; this will encourage attendees to always arrive on time and it will demonstrate to them that you respect their time
  • Have an agenda: make sure everyone attending is prepared; you can share the agenda ahead of time. That way people know what the meeting will cover and they will be prepared in case they need to present updates
  • Have a timer: your agenda should include the maximum amount of time you will stay in one particular issue/topic; this will help you  prevent unnecessarily long meetings and keep people’s attention focused
  • Ban personal technology: though it might seem a little extreme, banning phones, ipads, or computers will ensure that people do not multitasking and that they are paying attention to the topics at hand; this will greatly help in participation and in keeping the meeting short and concise
  • Q&A: before the meeting is finished, make sure you open up the table for people to make questions, comments, or suggestions so that everyone is clear on what needs to be done next


Pro tip:

Sometimes people need to step out of the office to have more effective meetings. Consider hosting your meetings in a third-space and think about elements such as comfort, location, technology support, refreshments, etc. Davinci Meeting Rooms has thousands of options!


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