Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Why People Dislike Meetings

Dear All,

In trying to understand the concepts and psychology of participants at meetings, i came up with the article below. Kindly give me your comments on its validity or otherwise:

Reasons why people dislike or resist meetings
by: Victor P. K. Mensah

Despite all the benefits that may accrue to attendees, many people do not see the value they get from meetings. A lot of people still see meetings as a waste of time and energy. The following points buttress such feelings:

The meeting is held for the wrong reason: Many managers and convenors are quick to call meetings for the wrong reasons. If you call a meetings to discuss an issue for which that meeting has no power to discuss, it will be unfruitful. Some will convene meetings just because they feel bored or lonely. This must be guarded against since people will be disinterested in attending genuine meetings in future.

There is lack of preparation: When major meetings are called at short notice, what happens is normally disastrous. No one has read the agenda. Some may not have even read the agenda, much more getting information on the topics. There is evidently a resultant waste of time, energy and morale. Allow time for preparation and encourage participants to prepare adequately. Sometimes guiding notes (or an aide memoir)

The goal of the meeting is unclear: The agenda is the most powerful directional document prior to a meeting. If there is no clearly stated agenda/goal/objective for the meeting, it is not worth holding.

There is poor leadership: this is a clear follow-up on point 3 above. The meeting can have a clearly stated agenda, but like a ship on the high seas, it takes good leadership to ensure that it steers the designed course. Primary leadership of a meeting lies in the chairperson. In a conference with several moderators/chairs (who are the leaders of the several meetings within the conference), the conference manager is a critical leader in the success of the meeting.

There is lack of proper control: Similar to point 4 above, there is the need for proper control. If a meeting is unruly, several participants will lose interest. Ensuring proper control is a function of both the leadership and followers or meeting participants. Participants will have to respect the authority of the chair/moderator/facilitator/event manager, and the standing orders of the meeting. This is the only way the meeting or conference will be successfully controlled.

Lack of commitment: Sometimes, some participants are not really committed to the outcomes of the meeting they are attending. They may have been coerced to attend or that they are attending with their own hidden agenda. If uncommitted participants are allowed to have their way or derail the gains of the larger meeting, the committed members will loose interest in further attending meetings. Leadership and control is the key to sustaining interest in this case.

The meeting is poorly timed: Sometimes the times for meetings are scheduled poorly, mainly conflicting with other scheduled activities of several participants. While it will be difficult to arrive at a time suitable for ALL participants, the timing should be favourable to the majority. Sometimes if the dates and times are set well ahead of meeting, compromises can be made by affected participants. Poor time management has been an age old problem for many meetings. Spending too much time discussing simple or basic issues which could have been settled quite quickly with a vote or by other means. To ensure a re-generation of interest in disinterested parties due to bad time management, the following id recommended:
  • All meeting should have both start time and end time
  • Meetings should state time allocated for discussions on item by item on the agenda
  • The standing orders should be clear about times allocated for contributions and statements
  • Several decision finalising means such as voting, acclamations and ruling should be used to cut long discussions short
  • If a decision cannot be reached easily within the time frame, referrals to committees is recommended.
  • Time allocations should be followed as strictly as possible.
Recommendations of the meeting are ignored: If an organisation empowers a committee or meeting to look into a matter and make recommendations, their functions, independence and efforts should be respected and rewarded. If the authorising body consistently refuses to accept or implement their recommendations, members will eventually loose interest in attending meeting and doing effective work.

The wrong people are present: The wrong people include disinterested parties, participants with hidden agenda and people who simply have no business attending that meeting for several reasons. They may have not even read the agenda or have not idea what is been discussed, neither are they even ready to try to comprehend and contribute to discussions.

Inconclusive discussions: If the meeting consistently leaves discussions “hanging” without conclusions, participants will eventually loose interest in attending those meeting again. Leadership is important in ensuring that this doesn’t happen.

There is apparent domination by few people or a person: No body is interested in attending undemocratic meetings. One critical value of meetings is the participation of all. The chairperson should endeavour to spread the opportunities to make contributions on the floor to all. One main negative phenomenon is when the chair is the dominant participant.

Poor environment, lots of distractions: Poor ventilation; too much physical noise; pillars in the middle of the room distracting the view of those in the back; unrestricted movements by people in the room and out of the room; low audibility; speakers which are too laud; poor lighting; uncomfortable seats; poor weather management, etc, can become real distracters.

There is the presence of manipulations: There is the need for contributions and participation in a free, in-domineering environment and manipulation.

Lack of follow-through: Mostly, poor record keeping will result in the meeting’s inability to take the reins from where it was left at the last meeting. Actions points must also be followed through by the secretary and chair to ensure that all stakeholders are aware of their responsibilities arising from a particular meeting. This can be done by sending action memos or recording the proceedings as action minutes and circulating shortly after meetings.

In summery, the following factors make effective meetings:
Clear definition of purpose
Careful time control
Respect for all opinions
Effective record keeping
There should be management responses to recommendations
Minimise distractions
Create an informal atmosphere, allowing free contributions
Recognition of efforts
Encouragement of minority or the “quite participants” to make contributions.
Good preparation is the key to good participation and a successful meeting.
Leadership and effective control will ensure that a meeting runs well
Ensure follow up of actions.

What ever the purpose of the meeting, it will only be called effective if it achieves them. Effective meetings are cost effective in terms of its simplicity and the effective utilisation of the time of participants. To effectively utilise time however, the environment should definitely be devoid of distractions.

The Golden Rules
1. Consider every meeting as unique. Approach each meeting with all seriousness and prepare meticulously as if it were your first. Do not be bothered if you feel like going by the book. Only make sure it is your own ‘book’ – a modification of others’ books with your lessons learnt from experience.
2. A meeting’s success is judged by the actions that result from it. How people feel after the meetings is of prime concern to you and those for whom you organised the event. Recommendations and comments made by participants must at all cost be considered and feedback given. If there were comments for improving on the next conference, consider them. Even if they wouldn’t be used in the long run, acknowledge them.
3. Running the meeting is the responsibility of the whole group. A participatory meeting presents the best results. Ensure that every participant feels that the success of the meeting or conference ‘belongs’ to them. They will thus feel obliged to contribute towards its success.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Author 1 - WELCOME

Today has been a blessing, with the first comment still been jubilated, Silas has accepted his invitation to become the first author of this blog (of course after myself).

We welcome Silas to this forum, encouraging him to share and demonstrate his unique abilities and in-dept knowledge to the benefit of mankind. We will surely be receiving an introduction from Silas shorlty (by himslef). Welcome again, and enjoy.


Welcome Comment 1

This blog has been fortunate today to welcome the first comment - from non other than the genie SILAS GYAU. We will be sending him an authorship invite soon.

This is an open invitation to all to freely comment your heart out. this blog is yours. You want to be an author, send me an email. You know how-to by now.


more of me

For the past few weeks i have been on a roller-coaster ride to discovering the Internet and indeed all that it holds. I know it may take a while to become a genie like Silas Gyau, my friend at SoB, UCC, but i am well on course. As i stated earlier, the new sensation on the www is wikis. Using wikieducator, i hope to fulfill my dream of being a better instructor and student in the same light. While i invite you all to join me on wiki educator, you can check my personal user page at

Do well to leave me a message in my "discussion" tab or send me your comments here.


Tuesday, February 26, 2008

My Blog "Face"

Based on James' suggestion, i have added "Karibu" to the greetings on my interface.
Karibu is Swahili = Welcome
Akwaaba is Akan = Welcome
Welcome = Welcome.


The Wiki Phenomenon

Once again i am caught up in a show of my clear ignorance of this blogger technology - turned the transliteration key on and my previous, well crafted post has been changed to Hindi; and i cant turn it back on.

Anyway, while we have all been wondering how WikiPedia does it - becoming the greatest place to go for resources, you can learn how to use it well by improving your Wiki skills through various online and Face-To-Face tutorials provided by Wiki Educator. Log on to and join the future.


विकी - थे न्यू Phenomenom

विकिस एंड अल ठाट काम विथ आईटी, मुआः!
सेवेरल चीर्स शौल्ड गो आउट फॉर थे क्रेअटर(स) एंड प्रोमोतेर्स ऑफ़ थे विकी सोफ्त्वारे एंड इट्स अल्लिएद सर्विसेस। फ्रॉम प्रोविदिंग उस अल विथ कोम्पेपेतितिवे इन्फोर्मेशन एंड रेसौर्सस फ्रीली अत ऑउर दिस्पोसल, थे न्यू आगे ऑफ़ थे लिब्रे कोम्मुनिटी इस बोर्न। ओपन सोर्स एंड फ्रीवारे माय तेर्म्स कात्चिंग उप विल अल ऑफ़ उस बुत वहत यू नी टू हवे ओं यौर तोंग्स नो इस विकिएदुकाटर (अवैलाब्ले ओं ।">। थिस इस थे विकी फॉर अल एदुकातोर्स, स्टूडेंट्स, कापसिटी बिल्डर्स एंड अल व्हो वांट टू जों थे आगे ऑफ़ आईटी अद्वंसमेंट। चेचक आईटी आउट एंड लेट्स गेट यौर फीड बेक।


Monday, February 25, 2008

My First Post

Dear Friends and all who are currently reading this,
You can imagine the joy of a novice as he makes his first ever post on a blog. It perhaps would have been nice if i posted on the blogs of others, however posting on your own blog is not only gratifying, but tsonyous in all its feel.

I intend to make the best out of this opportunity. Keep watching this page.