Meandering Meetings Chief Conference Peeve

June 24, 2004 ( - Nobody likes pointless meetings these days, but conduct a gathering that can't seem to stay on topic and you will really drive your colleagues around the bend.

A survey by First Option, a U.K. conference booking firm, found that nearly seven in 10 (67%) meeting organizers listed having a confab where the topic is all over the map as top on their list of meeting pet peeves.The poll of 968 organizers, asked to choose at least five dislikes from a pre-determined list of 20 potential problems, also tapped meetings with weak leaders are the second most pressing issue (63%).

Just over half (51%) complained about meeting in dark, dreary spaces with no natural sunlight, more than four in 10 (44%) listed meetings held for little or no meaningful purpose, while 42% protested the meeting presenters who waste time by making their “point” over and over again.

The rest of the top 10 complaints (in order) included:

  • running over time, 40%
  • meetings with little purpose, 39%
  • Interruptions from cell phones/pagers, 35%
  • refreshments not refreshed regularly, 30%
  • the attendee quick to complain, but slow to suggest ideas, 28%.

Just outside the top 10 was poor equipment’ (26%), having no agenda (25%) and the chatty disruptive neighbor (25%).