After working in two different internships to get a taste of the real world, I’ve noticed that most meetings are pointless and uninspiring. I have also been at other meetings where ideas and solutions come together that drive the business forward. Below are two of the main causes for unproductive meetings.
1). No Agenda or Talking Points. I have had this happen at countless meetings. It causes a lack of direction, lack of creativity and inefficient use of time.
The Big Deal: No set topics leads to not addressing issues and unprepared employees. I believe in problem solving as a team but also think the team should know what the issues are before meeting to discuss them. This way, team members can brainstorm prior to the meeting and pitch their ideas to their colleagues at the meeting.
Solution: Volunteer to type up the agenda or politely ask whomever called the meeting to provide one. If possible, it’s best to distribute it physically two hours prior to the meeting.
2). Groupthink. This happens when people don’t think outside the box and keep the status quo alive and well. You’ll know this is happening when people keep bringing up conservative ideas without being critical of what others are saying. Usually this happens in close-knit teams, because people don’t want to upset other team members.
The Big Deal: It’s tough to be an innovative company if you’re worried about being embarrassed or critical of others thoughts.
Solution: Raise questions regarding what others are saying at the next meeting. People will undoubtedly get defensive about their suggestions. In this case, make sure to let them know you’re not mad at them and that you are just skeptical of their idea.