No more exasperating team meetings!

Les réunions d'équipe font partie de la vie des entreprises et elles peuvent être un puissant outil de mise en commun des compétences, efficace pour faire avancer collectivement des sujets transverses ou transmettre des informations à tous. Pourtant, qui n'a jamais connu des réunions inutiles, interminables, stériles… bref, exaspérantes !

So how do you put an end to meetings that no one wants to attend anymore?


Here are 6 "worst case scenarios" to avoid, and our advice on how to replace them with useful, effective and motivating meetings.


 1. The mountain that gave birth to a mouse

The meeting was convened to deal with a generic theme: for example, the new European regulations affecting our sector.

There is a lot of talk and a lot of time, everyone gives their more or less informed opinion, but no decision is taken, no action is taken. The key information could have been passed on before the meeting and this would have been more effective. After a while, many people wonder why they are there. Moreover, no one really knows what the expected result was. That's the problem.


Our advice:

Always set one or more concrete and precise objectives for your meeting, for example: to prepare or validate a decision, to define an action plan, to take stock of a project, to inform the group of a decision, or to share good practices internally... The meeting will be a success if you and the participants have made tangible progress on your subject when it ends.


2. The general brawl ("Settlement of accounts at the OK Corral")

Sometimes a subject discussed during a meeting can give rise to contradictory reactions. While the expression of different points of view is generally desirable, and often even allows the best solutions to emerge, it can become downright burdensome whenit turns into a heated debate, or even head-on opposition. If the debate is not properly facilitated and framed, it can drag on or become confrontational, with the risk that everyone will stick to their positions and the tension will crystallize, making the meeting completely sterile...


Our advice: 

Take note of the objections without necessarily dealing with them all immediately or reacting to them. If a point of agreement cannot be reached quickly, do not allow the debate between the opposing positions to fester and continue with the agenda. Simply define when and in what framework the issue will be decided. 


3. The one-man show 

Do you recognise it? It is the meeting in which participants are treated as mere spectators. It is conducted in a "top-down" mode in front of passive, not to say captive, listeners

While the facilitator is certainly happy to have an audience to admire his or her talents or applaud his or her ideas, he or she is depriving himself or herself of the richness of the team's contributions on his or her topic, or of the relevance of the feedback on the project he or she is presenting... And that is rarely a good idea! 


Our advice: 

A meeting is neither a lecture nor a presentation! It is a time for collective work to which all participants have been invited to be active contributors. Invite all concerned and/or competent people, and encourage active and balanced participation by everyone in a goal that is known and understood by all. Even when it is a "presentation", plan interactions with your audience to encourage participants to project themselves into action and implement the elements shared.


4. The endless ("One day without end")

It is the (too) routine meeting. It always takes place at the same frequency (every month, every week, etc.), at the same time, with the same people, and its procedure is unchanging. A typical example: first the figures for the month are presented, then the objectives for the next month, and finally, a round table discussion on the "assessment of current actions". The risk with this type of meeting is that after a while you don't really know what it's for, and above all, you get bored to death! As a result, it's up to the participants to find the best excuse to get out of it, and for those who stay, it's a chore...


Our advice: 

It is sometimes useful to plan "regular" meetings, such as a weekly review. In this case, favour a short format with dynamic and highly interactive content.

For all other cases, systematically ask yourself what format and mode of facilitation will be the most effective in order for the meeting to produce what you expect, and "vary the pleasures" (metaplanning workshop, brainstorming, world café...)!


5. The parenthesis that goes on forever

Sometimes, during a meeting, one of the participants questions the group about a situation that is specific to him or her, or the facilitator focuses on a point that concerns a minority of them. If the parenthesis drags on, this can have several negative effects: either the other participants intervene without being invited to do so, thus acting as "judges" or "referees" for their colleagues on a subject that is not their responsibility; or, not being concerned, they relax their attention for a long time, and good luck getting them back on board for the rest of the agenda! Not only is the particular case not dealt with properly, but it is a real waste of time for the whole group.


Our advice: 

In a meeting, if there are multiple topics to be discussed, adopt the following benchmark: "to be invited, each participant must be interested in at least 70% of the topics discussed during the meeting, and to be put on the agenda, each topic to be discussed must concern at least 70% of the participants invited". Special cases and sub-topics raised during the meeting should be noted to be dealt with later, in an appropriate setting.


6. Absent is always wrong

We are dealing with a subject that concerns several departments with a direct impact on the activity of each one. However, not everyone was invited to the meeting, or the meeting was held despite the fact that some of the invitees could not be present on that date. As a result, no decisions can be firmly validated, or the decisions will go against the wishes of the absentees, and/or more time will have to be spent reporting back to the absentees after the meeting, in compensation. This is a double penalty for everyone!


Our advice: 

Only hold a meeting if it is useful and necessary, and when it is, make sure it is effective: choose the right format, the right timing, and make sure that everyone whose input is needed is present. Where it is difficult to bring them together, use document sharing and online collaborative solutions to move issues forward, rather than multiple meetings and email exchanges in small groups.



By avoiding these 6 most frequent "disaster scenarios" (we could still add others, such as "The underground", which is improvised by three people on a corner of the desk and disturbs all the members of the open space in the process! 😉 ), you will restore your meetings to their true vocation: to be a space for sharing ideas and a time for effective and useful collaborative work, in which "the productivity of the whole is more than that of the sum of the parts". And your employees will once again enjoy participating in them!



Did you know that 95% of your success is linked to your state of mind? To learn how to manage your emotional charge more effectively, discover the Triad method in this webinar:

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