12 Reasons Your Meetings Don’t Go As Planned


Meetings can be maddening, especially when things don’t go as expected. After all, you called (or went to) that meeting because you wanted to get some serious work done!

Here’s a list of just a few of the things that you’re up against in meetings complete with your daily recommended allowance of snark.

1. The Right People Don’t Go

You know that ‘required’ meeting that only half of the required attendees show up to? Or that meeting where the key decision maker didn’t show? That’s a problem; a big one. YOLO, I guess.

2. It Doesn’t Start On Time And End On Time

Try emailing everyone to tell them that you don’t value their time or their plans for the workday instead. It would be awkwardly direct and oddly enough, save everyone some time.

3. No One Knows What To Expect

An agenda doesn’t have to be formal, but attendees should know what is expected of them otherwise you get whatever circus they bring with them when they walk in to the room (which can be fun I guess, if you’re in to that sort of thing).

4. Actions and Decisions Aren’t Clear

Remember that thing we decided on? Who was supposed to do that and by when? Wait…did we decide ANYTHING? Call another meeting! A meeting about a meeting!

5. The Real Meeting Happens Elsewhere

You know the meeting where the real decisions get made? If it’s not the meeting you intended then you have another big problem on your hands. Good luck with that.

6. Technology Happens

I don’t know if everyone knows this, but we’ve ALL evolved the ability to tell the difference between someone taking notes or participating in the meeting through technology and someone who is just pretending to pay attention.

7. People Check Out

If you could see the thought bubbles above people’s heads during meetings you’d see that at some point they start thinking…”What’s for lunch? Who just walked by the window? Did I bring enough water to last the meeting? Did I leave the coffee pot on at home??? Mmmm…coffee…oh hey, that’s an amazing coffee mug…”

8. Food Happens

From loud 72 ounce water tanks, to artfully crafted coffee mugs and the hilariously complex snacks that get brought to meetings, it’s a miracle anyone can focus on anything else!

9. Nature Happens

When your meeting goes long (see #2), and people bring their mug-o-whatever fluid they need to function to the meeting (see #8), they’ll abruptly get up and go do whatever nature calls them to do.

10. Late Arrivals

People don’t just show up late, they arrive complete with a trio of trumpets that announces their presence. Well not really, but metaphorically speaking that’s what happens when we enter late and then have to sheepishly look for a seat and ask what we missed.

11. Attendees are Fluent in Cliché

I’d like to table the out of the box thinking for a moment so that we can get a bit more granular about the think sessions we hold on a regular basis. Translation: BORING.

12. They Never Get Better

The flaw to end all meeting flaws: consistency in all the wrong places. Meetings that are bad and never improve send a signal to everyone that it’s not worth their time and effort, and that’s why a list like this exists in the first place!

Okay, enough snark. Here’s a list of articles and resources that will help you have better meetings:


By LaurMG. (Cropped from “File:Frustrated man at a desk.jpg”.) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

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