Anatomy of a bad meeting

A horse suddenly came galloping quickly down the road. It seemed as though the man had somewhere important to go.

Another man, who was standing alongside the road, shouted, “Where are you going?” and the man on the horse replied,

“I don’t know! Ask the horse!

As we’ve previously discovered, poor meetings -if not not tamed- can run away with our productivity, focus and engagement for the rest of the day.

So now the question is: how do we know we have a bad meeting on our hands?

Luckily for us, academics have been asking that same question. And found some answers.

Below is a list of behavioural markers that make up a bad meeting (please notice that these behaviours are not just confined to the actual meeting, but start before and continue after the meeting)

  • Functionally homogenous groups can generate poorer solutions during problem solving because of their ability to consider a smaller range of possible solutions.
  • Attendees that come to the meeting unprepared without having read the agenda add to the low quality of meeting and discussion.
  • Arriving late to a meeting spurs negative social reactions and behavioral intentions and reduces objective meeting quality.
  • Low-performing employees participate less than high-performers in meetings.
  • Lack of humor and laughter patterns stimulate negative behaviors and group performance.
  • Complaining is contagious, and group meeting with complainers perform poorly.
  • Managers can hurt employee engagement by making meetings irrelevant, long, and non-participatory.
  • Interactional unfairness (one sided talking) in meetings can make attendees’ participation in meetings more likely.
  • Failing to debrief meetings can hinder creating a climate of psychological safety.
  • Negative team interactions in meetings predict organizational failure.
  • (Dis)satisfaction with meetings is related to overall job satisfaction

Interested in learning how to track some or all of the above markers?

Sign up here to trial within your team or organization.

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