Why Most Meetings Suck (and how to make them AWESOME)

Old School MeetingMost meetings suck.

Am I right or am I right or am I right? Right. Right. Right. <–MUST SEE Groundhog Day clip

But they don’t have to. Meeting can actually be AWESOME.

Before we talk about awesome meetings, let’s discuss what makes so many meetings sucky.

What Makes Meetings SUCK

Off the top of my head, most meetings suck because they :

  • Don’t have a purpose
  • Don’t have an agenda
  • Don’t have active participation from meeting attendees (laptops are open! texts are flying!)
  • Are too long
  • Are too short
  • Have no action items
  • Have too many people
  • Have too few people
  • Have the wrong people
  • Have too many “yes” people
  • Have too many “no” people
  • Have too may executives
  • Have too few executives
  • Are way (WAY) too frequent

Some meeting suck because they look like this:

Can’t see the video? Try watching it on YouTube.

And yes, I realize that video is really more about “the expert,” but lots of the components of a sucky meeting are still present.

Others, specifically conference calls, are like this one:

Can’t see the video? Try watching it on YouTube.

Both types of meeting suck.

Nearly 4 years ago, Seth Godin suggested meeting should be more expensive. Somewhat tongue in check, but also somewhat for real, he suggested organizations should “hire meeting fairie” [sic].

In that post, Seth said,

The fairie’s job would be to ensure that meetings were short, efficient and effective.

The post then lists what, specifically, the fairy would work on (go read the post, then come back!)

Godin concludes,

If you do all this, every time you call a meeting it’s going to cost more to organize. Which means you’ll call fewer meetings, those meetings will be shorter and more efficient. And in the long run, you’ll waste less time and get more done.

Everyone is happy. Everyone wins. Seth Godin: You are a (marketing) genius!

So if the “formula” is that easy, why aren’t more companies hiring meeting fairies? That was a serious question – one which I’m sorry to say I do not have the answer to. If anyone does have an explanation for why there are not more meeting fairies, please drop a comment below and let us know.

Okay. So now that we know why meetings suck … and what Seth Godin recommends to make them less sucky, let’s talk about how to make meetings AWESOME.

What Makes Meetings AWESOME

I asked some of my friends on Facebook to share what makes meetings AWESOME. Here is what they shared:

Lara Baker: Kick ass meetings have something unexpected – a fun team building activity, a surprise speaker on a topic of interest, a change of venue (maybe meet outside if the weather is nice?), etc. Something to get you out of the rut and the norm!!

Ethan Beute: Kick Ass Awesome meetings:
– Everyone knows who’s going to be in the meeting.
– Everyone knows the purpose of the meeting.
– Everyone is engaged in the process of fulfilling the meeting’s purpose.
– The purpose of the meeting is fulfilled.

Dayna Rothman: Awesome meetings have cupcakes

Paula Kiger: I would add, “everyone is prepared” from the standpoint of follow ups that have been promised (and I have most definitely been the guilty party here). A meeting immediately loses its “kick ass” classification if too many attendees have to say “I will have to get back to you on that” (if it’s something they were supposed to have ready.”

What would YOU add to the list of how to make meetings more awesome (or awesomer)? 

Please drop a comment below. #ENDSUCKYMEETINGS

Oh, and please tweet this!