Donna's Blog

Vicious cycle of meetings – Part 1: Disengagement

There are three traps of bad meetings: Disengagement, Distraction and Discouragement. These form a vicious cycle that is hard to get off.


This series of articles will touch on each and how they negatively impact meetings, starting with:




How quick is your irrelevance detector? I have noticed in meetings that the moment someone gets even a sniff of irrelevance, out comes the phone or the lid of the laptop is opened. I have had people tell me they attend project update meetings, but once they have delivered their own update, they disengage and start working on their email. Its like unless it’s about me (relevant), I’m not paying attention.


I reckon this is because we often only focus on what’s happening in our immediately environment or the near future and certainly as it pertains directly to us. So unless something someone is talking about in a meeting relates directly to me, my project and/or something that will help (or not) me right now, it’s irrelevant.


Ways to overcome disengagement:

  • Make sure you have the right people there, don’t over (or under) invite
  • Send out the agenda/question/issue for discussion at least 24 hours in advance
  • Stay focused on the topic at hand
  • Create an environment where everyone who needs to can contribute


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