Although organizing meetings at work is essential in attaining a specific purpose and achieving goals, there are also disadvantages and drawbacks in meetings. A meeting would turn out to be ineffective if the organizer failed to properly facilitate the session and if the meeting agenda is not observed.
Basically, these are the two major outcomes of an unsuccessful meeting. There are many factors and other adverse effects that may occur in a poorly facilitated meeting. Because of the lack of supervision, conflicts are bound to happen, decisions become hard to attain, and participants may even lose track of the key issues.
Meetings are not necessarily one-time, unless the issue is trivial and agenda items do not require a follow-through. In common instances, meetings are regular and habitual in an organization. You cannot expect a meeting to be effective all the time, although most of the time it generates positive results for the group. Where there are advantages, expect to find disadvantages in a meeting as well.
Common Problems with Meetings
What common problems have you encountered so far in your meeting attendance? You will find a few of those issues in the list that are generated in this article. In a meeting, there is a possibility that participants go off in different directions at the same time and this situation is called multi-headed animal syndrome.
Confusion between the meeting process and the content also happens. Participants are uncertain whether the focus is on how to discuss the agenda items or what key points to discuss. Some members experience traffic problem wherein they encounter difficulty in getting into the conversation and having a chance to participate.
There is possibility of information overload in a meeting especially if there are multiple agenda items discussed so the members may not recall everything that has been talked about. Another problem is unnecessary repetition of old ideas from previous meetings which makes meetings pointless.
Some meeting participants resort to problem avoidance in a meeting where the common notion is that everything is fine and no problems or issues should be discussed. On the other hand, when participants think that there is nothing that can be done for a difficult issue, there is no reason to try resolving it. This concept is called general negativity.
Since a meeting is facilitated by a meeting leader, there are possibilities of power tripping or manipulation by the leader especially if personal objectives are involved. An ineffective facilitator may leave the participants with unclear roles and responsibilities. Lastly, a common problem in meetings is personality control where people with negative behaviors and attitudes are quite hard to correct.
The nice thing about a face-to-face meeting is that every member sees the person they are interacting with. However, the challenge is meeting problematic people. Not everyone is participative in meetings, although this is ideally what we want to happen.
People with problematic personalities may contribute to an ineffective meeting. The latecomers may cause the delay of a meeting. Early leavers can also distract the meeting. During the discussion, you encounter gossipers, attackers, know-it-all, and constant interrupters.
The facilitator may have a teacher’s pet from among the members and this person usually gets the chance to speak more than the others do. You get to interact with broken records, those who repeat things over and over. There are backseat drivers who just cannot stand up for themselves and express their own ideas.
More often than not, it is the responsibility of the meeting in-charge to keep all these problem personalities in control. But poor facilitation may cause a meeting to be unsuccessful and worthless.
Conflicts May Occur
Another disadvantage in a meeting is the possible existence of conflicts and here we are talking about unnecessary conflicts. Disagreements are expected in an interaction but when arguments get out of hand, the meeting will end up in a conflict. The meeting organizers will have to put the session off until next time when everyone has gotten over the disputes. This causes a delay in the resolution and decision making process.
The facilitator must be an effective leader who can manage arising conflicts in a meeting. Unless no one takes the lead, conflicts will definitely grow worse and become unstoppable.