Top Meeting Faux Pas

80605650Chances are, meetings don’t have a good rap around your office. In fact, in a recent Express Hiring Trends survey, 51% of leaders said meetings are the biggest drain on their time. As a leader, meetings are just a part of life that you’ve probably come to expect when strategizing, planning, and collaborating.

But, what about your employees? They have to interrupt their days in order to sit through those same meetings and gather the information they need to complete their tasks. Are you making those hours of meetings worth their while, or are you committing one of these top meeting faux pas that drive them crazy?

Coming in Late
When your employees see you arrive to meetings late over and over again, they can quickly get the impression that their time isn’t important and they aren’t worth the effort to arrive on time. Sometimes emergencies and unexpected circumstances come up, but don’t let yourself get the reputation of always arriving tardy. Even if you’re just an attendee and didn’t call the meeting, it’s embarrassing to your employees if their leader is the one slipping in five minutes late with a poor excuse. And, it’s even worse if you scheduled the meeting and then leave your team to fend for themselves for the first few minutes in your absence. Plus, according to Diana DeLonzor in her book Never Be Late Again: 7 Cures for the Punctually Challenged, the bad habit of being late costs businesses over $3 billion in lost productivity every year. If you know ahead of time you might be late, let the person in charge of the meeting know what’s going on – this will show that you aren’t blowing them off and are being considerate of their time.

Checking Your Phone
Constantly checking our smartphones is a bad habit quickly gripping millions of phone users across the world. But it can be especially bad for your professional career if you allow it to follow you into the conference room. Certainly there are some valid reasons for taking your phone into a meeting, but wanting to chat with family and friends via texts or randomly read your emails shouldn’t be one of them. One on hand, a recent study commissioned by, a social email software provider, shows digital distractions account for 57% of interruptions at work and cost companies $10,375 in lost productivity per employee each year. In addition, almost nothing is more discourteous than showing up at a meeting only to sit with your head down, fingers flying over buttons, and seeming to ignore the conversations going on around you. Even if you need to send a short email or a quick text, you can send one simple message inconspicuously and then put the phone away for the rest of the meeting. Engaging in the discussion as a leader to give your valued opinion and direction is a sure way to build trust and maintain morale.

Lacking an Agenda
As a leader it’s important to be organized and prepared, including when it comes to meetings. Not preparing an agenda for meetings you’ve scheduled can make your time together less productive. If you called the meeting then you obviously have something to say and a result you want to walk away with, so arrive with a plan in place. Even if you don’t have time to type out a detailed agenda for each attendee, at least take five minutes to jot down what you want to cover before the meeting. Showing your team that you value their time and opinions will help establish loyalty and increase employee engagement.

Nothing says unprofessional and disorganized than committing these three faux pas during your career. And, few things will build a wall between you and team faster than coming across as disrespectful. A little bit of planning and forethought are all it takes to avoid these mistakes and maintain a productive team.

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