5 Ways to Fight Top Meeting Offenses

Do you ever find yourself in a meeting sitting across the table from a coworker that has his head down, clearly not paying attention to what is going on in the room? Instead, he is sitting with his hands under the table “responding to email messages” (aka playing Candy Crush on his smartphone), while another participant’s cell phone begins to ring? Surely you are not the only person that has experienced these distractions.

Nexxt polled its members to ask, “What behavior do you find bothersome when attending a business meeting?” Out of more than 2,300 poll respondents, business professionals noted that cell phone interrupters was most bothersome with 50.08%, followed by domineering personalities (22.41%), people who never contribute (17.53%) and smartphone checkers (9.97%).

New technologies provide faster and easier ways for people to connect and conduct business than ever before. However, these technologies can also cause workplace distractions and interruptions that, with a little effort, can often times be minimized. Located below are a few simple tips on how to conduct an efficient and productive meeting.

Set Expectations
When scheduling a meeting, it is important to set expectations by including an agenda with the meeting request. Attendees can prepare ahead of time and add the most value to your meeting.

Lead by Example
Before starting a meeting, be sure to silence your cell phone in front of the group and instruct others to do the same. Explain it is a way to maximize everyone’s time, stay on track and eliminate any unnecessary distractions.

Level the Playing Field
With any meeting, you will have some participants that are domineering and outspoken, and others that do not contribute or speak up at all. To level the playing field, you can consider incorporating round-table discussions whereby each participant is required to provide their views and insights on the topic at hand to encourage equal participation and add the most value to your meeting. Plus this could be the boost of confidence those more quiet members need — it’s no fun being steamrolled by a domineering personality.

Stay Focused
During a meeting, it is easy for conversations to take a different path, which can lead to unproductive meetings. When this occurs, it is OK to say “Let’s take this offline” and proceed with the agenda. If it is a larger meeting, you may even consider a facilitator to lead the meeting on your behalf. If it is a short meeting, you can also use a “standing meeting” approach where all attendees remain standing until the meeting concludes.

Don’t Forget to Recap
Before your meeting is officially concluded, always recap any “take-aways” so that everyone knows who is responsible for which follow-ups and set appropriate timelines. It is also important to ensure that you review the agenda to be sure that you have covered all necessary topics and have achieved the purpose of the meeting.

By following these few simple tips, you will be sure to conduct an efficient and productive meeting which will encourage future participation by your co-workers.

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