Small Business Guides

Meeting Madness—How to Avoid Common Meeting Mistakes

The lights are dimmed, and you are just about to nod off. At this point, you have been waiting half an hour and you are just plain tired. As you quietly slumber, you are consciously aware of not snoring through one of the most important events you have had to attend at work—another office meeting. However, as your supervisor bleats on about the importance of customer service, you are in full REM.

Regardless of the import, many have found themselves in the same dilemma of having to attend a meeting where important information is disseminated but also being trapped in a tug-o-war with sleep to keep their attention. Most meetings become long, protracted ordeals where too much information and not enough planning go into the event. Much of the tedium behind insufferable meetings can be addressed very simply, though, by avoiding some of the most common mistakes.

Keep reading for more information as to how to avoid some of the most common meeting mistakes.


Getting the when, where, who and how of a meeting correct is fundamental to pulling in your audience. If your employees or co-workers have to wait outside the room while you fumble to get on your cell phone to call someone to unlock the room, you are going to face a room of slightly annoyed people. Furthermore, you are now a number of minutes late to a meeting you organised. Even worse, the impression you have made on them reflects that you have not prepared.

To avoid this pitfall, arrive at least thirty minutes to an hour early to make sure the room is set up and open. Better yet, have the professionals at Servcorp organise your meetings. Servcorp meeting rooms come equipped with the latest technology, including video conferencing, and when scheduling a meeting, all you pretty much have to do is show up.

No Clear Objectives

While it might seem obvious, your colleagues should always know why they are attending a meeting. More than just knowing the subject of the meeting, they also need to know what you plan to accomplish by meeting’s end. Clearly listed objectives or tasks that are completed to accomplish a goal are very important in giving your meeting purpose.

No Agenda Thus No Direction

One of the worst things professionals can do is walk into a meeting without an agenda. Even the most informal agenda gives participants a sense of what direction the meeting is headed. By having an agenda that lists the items that will be addressed during the meeting, you are less likely to veer off on subjects that are not related to the issues at hand. More significantly, your colleagues’ time is really important, so when you do not provide them with an agenda and your one-hour meeting goes into overtime, it says that you do not value their time.

An agenda that does not have too many items on the list is one that helps guide your audience through the meeting. Also, make sure to leave a few minutes at the end of the agenda for questions. As opposed to being interrupted throughout the meeting, which can take extra time, you can complete your meeting and address questions after the presentation.

Distracting And Other Nuisance Behaviours

If you have ever been in the audience of a meeting while distracted by the repeated sounds of a cell phone going off, idle chatter, fidgeting and other distracting behaviours, you understand why they get in the way of a meeting. Not only are they distracting, but talking while the speaker is presenting, flipping through papers, or rummaging through your purse are all major disruptions that interrupt the concentration of the speaker and those attending the meeting. Furthermore, your presenter might view your actions as inattentive, and worse yet, rude, whether they are or not.

Meeting Etiquette

Office meetings are a necessary evil that will never go away regardless of how many technology advances there are. However, business owners can alleviate some of the annoyances of attending meetings by properly organising the event and preparing an agenda. Moreover, when your co-workers see the efforts of your planning, they will respect your time and give you their attention.