In the fast-paced world of business, meetings serve as crucial hubs of communication, collaboration, and decision-making. However, the effectiveness of these meetings can be significantly undermined by poor etiquette.

5 bad meeting behaviors (and how to avoid them)

Today, meetings aren’t only plagued by classic challenges, like double-booked conference rooms or incorrect calendars. Now that meeting remotely has become the norm, employees have a new set of frustrations to navigate.

In this digital age of work, there are modern bad meeting behaviors to contend with such as remote attendees forgetting to mute their microphones, too many people speaking at one time, trouble with Wi-Fi connections, and difficulties sharing their screen when it’s their turn to present — in addition to the more traditional offenders.
With that in mind, there are plenty of bad meeting behaviors that can — and should — be prevented from occurring during onsite meetings. Here are some common examples of bad meeting behaviors to be on the lookout for.

1. Starting meetings late without notifying attendees or adjusting the schedule

You hit traffic and are running five minutes behind. We’ve all been there. But something as simple as running a few minutes late can quickly compound and become problematic.

With every snag you hit, the minutes start adding up. First, it’s just five minutes in traffic. But parking is difficult because the lot is more full than usual, so you’re now 10 minutes behind schedule and don’t have time to grab your usual coffee on the way. At this point, you’re under-caffeinated and scrambling to get out your laptop and open all the items you need for your meeting. And so on, until you’re finally ready to get started — 15 minutes into a 30-minute meeting slot.

If you’re running late, it’s best to adjust the invitation. With a meeting room booking system, it’ll take you only a few seconds to click into your room reservation and see if the room is available for additional time. Then it’s easy to adjust your meeting and notify the attendees about the slight change in schedule. That way, nobody is waiting around for your meeting to get started and you won’t have to rush through your slide deck to keep things on schedule.

2. Booking rooms without considering what your meeting needs

There’s nothing wrong with having a preferred meeting room — unless the location, room size, or conference room equipment doesn’t match up with what’s needed. Poor utilization is a major source of bad meeting behaviors and can be caused by several factors, including:

  • Spaces that are too small or too large
  • Rooms that aren’t equipped with the right tools
  • Perceived lack of room availability

Does your office have enough space to support all of your employees’ meetings? If rooms are full most of the time, try creating temporary meeting areas by rearranging your office space. For example, consider moving desks closer together to free up space for an informal meeting area by grouping chairs and tables together.

You can also partition off other spaces — such as a break room or kitchen area — for additional space to accommodate smaller, more informal meetings. IT managers frequently field user complaints about meeting room equipment, so it’s important to make sure the tools in each room meet employee expectations.

Consider whether or not it’s time to update your technology to support an increase in hybrid meetings. For instance, if only a few of your rooms include high-quality monitors and video conferencing equipment, it’s probably time to upgrade your meeting room technology.

Modern meeting room booking systems allow employees to search for space and filter by resources to find the perfect room for their meetings.

3. Scheduling meetings during lunch hours

This can be difficult to avoid if your meeting includes employees and external guests that are attending from a different office location or are joining from another country or time zone. The best way to tackle bad meeting behaviors that involve scheduling is to check people’s calendars and verify ahead of time that the scheduled meeting time doesn’t interfere with their ability to grab some lunch or take a much-needed break from work when they have an available time slot.

This can be influenced by many factors, but the priority of the meeting can help you determine how flexible you can be with scheduling.

As a general rule of thumb, try to avoid booking a meeting during someone’s regular lunch hours. When in doubt, confirm that the proposed time works for everyone. You can always offer to record the meeting and pass along the recording afterward.

4. Canceling recurring meetings without removing the associated room reservations

It’s a tale as old as time — or at least as old as meeting room reservation systems. On one hand, technology has simplified scheduling meetings in the office and helped make the process much more efficient. On the other hand, it introduced a new problem to the mix: recurring room bookings that go unused.

When meetings are canceled but the associated room reservations aren’t removed, this makes the room appear unavailable for others to use. This often occurs when someone cancels a recurring meeting at the last minute because there aren’t any updates to share, or when all attendees are joining the meeting remotely, so the meeting room is no longer needed.

The problem is that these bad meeting behaviors waste your available space and stand in the way of collaboration and productivity in the workplace. To combat this, some room scheduling displays have a check-in feature designed to help you eliminate unused bookings and late-start meetings.

5. Allowing meetings to run late when someone else needs a room

What’s worse than running out of time during a productive meeting? Answer: Having to cancel your meeting due to the previous meeting running over.

Nobody wants to barge in and interrupt someone, but when another meeting runs late it can lead to a lot of frustration. Conference room scheduling displays that show who has reserved the room and for how long can help avoid these types of bad meeting behaviors altogether.

While it’s never fun to cut a productive conversation short, it’s important to be mindful of the time and make sure you keep your meeting on schedule so the next meeting can start on time.

How can you address bad meeting behaviors?

Bad meeting behaviors aren’t just a nuisance, they can completely derail an employee’s schedule and sometimes even result in more tasks being added to their plate. And each time someone has a negative experience in a meeting, it can impact productivity, performance, and engagement.

Meeting room booking systems can help leaders get rid of bad meeting behavior once and for all.

Simplify room scheduling

Rather than using calendar apps that allow rooms to be double-booked, avoid confusion with a modern-day solution. Meeting room booking systems show room availability in real time, and give full visibility into a room’s availability, resources, and capacity.
Meeting room booking tools should integrate with conference room scheduling displays to make reservations even easier, and more accessible — whether employees book rooms from a meeting room display, an employee app, or from their company calendar system.

Maximize meeting room utilization

If employees frequently complain about not having adequate meeting space, it’s time to address the source of the problem. Often, a perceived lack of space indicates that it’s time to rethink your office design.

Does your office have the right types of meeting rooms? Can employees see real-time availability from your meeting room booking system? How often do meetings end early or run late?

The best meeting room booking systems will give you the ability to analyze your space utilization data and provide recommendations you can use to maximize your office space. Workspace analytics can help you uncover how people are using your workstations and conference rooms so you can find solutions for your wasted space and bridge the gaps that exist between your available meeting rooms and the needs of your employees.

With meeting room booking software and workplace analytics, you can easily dive into insights such as:

  • Frequency of canceled meetings
  • Average meeting size and duration
  • Number of scheduled meetings each week
  • How far in advance meetings are scheduled
  • Number of unattended meetings

Eliminate scheduling issues

A meeting room booking system can help you avoid frustrating scheduling conflicts that prevent collaboration. Using a meeting room booking system can help you overcome the most common types of meeting room scheduling conflicts, including:

  • Overlapping meetings: When a meeting runs into another meeting already scheduled on the calendar
  • Double-booked meeting rooms: When two meetings are reserved in one room at the same time
  • Unattended reservations: Occurs when a one-time reservation or recurring reservation is not removed from the schedule even though the meeting has been canceled

Better in-person meetings are right around the corner

Don’t expect bad meeting behavior to work itself out. Want to really root out bad meeting behavior? Meeting room booking systems can help prevent it from occurring in the first place. And, rather than waiting for it to reoccur, you can start preparing for better meetings now.