I go to a lot of meetings. I work with women’s ministries in 20 churches, which means women talking it out. I like the ones over a meal. Before ministry, I was the business manager of one of the largest convention centers in the US. We would have pre-production, production, and post production meetings with some of the largest companies and associations on the planet. On some days 5-8 meetings before lunch. I have seen meetings go south with one comment and go north with a simple smile.
From all that I have seen here is the top 10 list of frustrations in a meeting.
10 - Not writing this stuff down. Will someone have to recap this whole meeting again later? If it’s not that important for them to write it down why exactly are they at this meeting anyway?
9 - Showing up empty. Nothing, nada, zip. All those things they said they would have ready when we met again, didn’t bring it. All those things they were told to bring while setting the meeting up. Nope, missing, the dog ate it. The meeting is now missing an element, in some cases a key element, which translates - Another Meeting.
8 - Having a say on every item on the agenda, and really not saying anything at all. Worse yet, once they start they don’t stop! It’s almost like trying to prove to everyone why they are there. What it really does is make everyone wish they weren’t there at all.
7 - Interrupting others. The interruptions that criticize or bring negativity to the table. Interrupt a person in the middle of a good idea with “that won’t work.” How do you know if you don’t let them finish! Some people need interrupting which leads me to the next point.
6 - Rabbit trails and rambling. They have the long, and I mean long drawn out stories that we’ve already heard before. The kind of stories the lead us to some dead end. We want to be nice, however some meetings is not the place and the time for that. Coffee at Starbucks is the place and time, and if you are the one with the long story be the one to buy the coffee.
5 - Phone calls, texting, facebooking, twittering, checking emails, playing words with friends, farmville the list goes on. This is pretty obnoxious. It speaks loud of ‘I have someone or something way more important than you people and this meeting.” Excuse yourself and go outside and talk. What cracks me up after is when the person checks back into the meeting they ask “What did I miss?” Really?!
4 - Chatting it up with your neighbor. A good meeting has one conversation. These chatty couples are distracting. What really makes these extra conversations annoying; they are CHALLENGING the Leader to take action. Do we really want to go there?
3 - Tardy! Now I understand we all have those days, and we do everything we can to make it not just on time but early. However, when someone consistently shows up late I hear “I don’t know how to manage my time!” or “This meeting isn’t that important.” When I am a guest to the meeting I also see “we have so many meetings and they never start on time anyway.” Why is this annoying? Because no matter what you say, we have to catch you up.
2 - Deadbeats!! These people have no input whatsoever, they don’t take notes, they don’t have anything to contribute, they don’t volunteer for any task, nothing. Again, why are you there? Then because we are in church, someone with the gift of mercy will interrupt a perfectly good flow of ideas, synergy the real meat of the meeting with “Let’s hear from someone who hasn’t spoken up.” AND still NOTHING. I understand some people take longer to process things than others, normally these are the smartest guys at the meeting, and thank God for them. These smart guys will normally be writing something down, nodding, a hmmm every now and then and will have a pattern of speaking up at the next meeting.
1 - The meeting after the meeting. This could be the deadbeat is now a zombie and wants to walk and talk now. What really annoys me is this - they normally don’t even make it out of the parking lot. Women will want to discuss every item on the agenda, and if they aren’t careful what was a really great meeting will have been labeled the worse meeting in the history of the church before they even get home. Were we at the same meeting?
What frustrates you at these meetings? :) Be nice!