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While some employees complain that office meetings are boring or too long, nothing about a meeting frustrates workers more than hearing the same thing over and over again, new research shows.
The study on meeting annoyances by GiveMore.com revealed some the biggest beefs among workers were the notion of "having meetings just to have meetings" and often-unprepared leaders losing control by letting attendees dominate the conversation, complain and steer the meeting off-course.
"What was most surprising was the No. 1 annoyance," said Sam Parker, GiveMore.com's co-founder, on allowing attendees to ramble and repeat comments and thoughts. "It's something that can be handled so easily by the leader."
Other complaints about meetings that were listed as the most frustrating were:
- Doesn't start on time, stay on track or finish on time.
- There are no specific action items or takeaway points.
- There is no clear purpose or objective.
- They are not inspiring or motivating.
- They are not organized and there is no agenda.
- They are too long.
- The need to repeat information for late arrivals.
- A weak presenter who is unprepared, monotone, or overly redundant.
- They are boring and provide no new or interesting information.
For those leading meetings, Parker suggests using the list as a checklist for making them better.
"Respect your attendees by preparing well, communicating well and valuing your peoples' time," he said. "If you're running a meeting, don't do these things that annoy people."
For those attending meetings, Parker recommends participating and simply acting like an adult.
"Ask and answer questions and be a part of the discussion," Parker said. "Encourage the leader by being on their team and offering your thoughts and support."
The study was based on surveys of more than 1,600 people.
Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based freelance writer who has worked in public relations and spent 10 years working as a newspaper reporter and now works as a freelance business and technology reporter. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @cbrooks76.