Even though we hold meetings to discuss, decide, inform or collaborate in any other way, most meetings will run into problems at one time or another. Did you know that 37 billion dollars are wasted on unproductive meetings in the US every year? And that 60% of all meetings is considered as time wasted? That’s a lot, right? We believe people can work better together, especially in meetings. Below are listed 6 meeting problems and how to overcome them. So say hello to productive meetings!


  1.   Can’t make decisions

We’ve all been there, our meetings seem to drag on as group members struggle to reach a consensus and make decisions. The responsibility for coming to decisions lies with the leader. The one in charge of the meeting or agenda point must consider how decisions will be made to avoid endless discussion. So, first of all, make sure you know who is leading a specific project or task. There are several things the leader can do to help a group make decisions more efficiently:

  • Clarify the goal of the meeting. Create expectations with actionable agenda points that clearly explain what is expected.
  • When people seem totally blocked and unable to come to a decision, go back to the initial question or purpose and phrase it in other words.
  • Make a democratic decision by voting or ranking.

To learn more, check out 4 great group decision making methods.


  1.   Dominators

This one is a real productivity killer. The same 2 or 3 people seem to talk all the time. The result? Other people start to feel unsafe and feel like they can’t share their opinion. That doesn’t sound like a productive meeting at all! Fortunately, you can do something about it. Again: a good leader is key! What can the leader do? Stop letting dominators take over the meeting! The main point is that you help other people to participate. Effective leaders say things like: “How do the rest of you feel about that idea?” or “Okay, that’s a good point; may we move on to someone else?” Another technique may be to have some small group work so that the people who may be quiet at times are much more likely to speak up and participate.

To learn more about different meeting personalities, check out How to handle different personalities in your meeting.


  1.   Can’t finish on time

Meetings often run over time and some agenda points don’t even get covered. Why does this happen so often? Well, meetings don’t always start on time in the first place. Second, meeting time is not managed well. And third, the meeting is not planned or structured well. What can help you finish on time?

  • Be on time!
  • Send a meeting agenda with a rough estimate on how long each topic will take.
  • Make sure the agenda is clear for everyone and be sure to mark off the items as you proceed. This will help the group see the progress.
  • Make sure there is a timekeeper to watch the clock for every agenda item.
  • Before you send out an agenda, review it and ask yourself if really all these items must be covered in this meeting.
  • At the start of a meeting, make sure you have a shared understanding of the purpose. Keep the goal in mind and, if you notice the group slipping away to another subject, you can remind them of the purpose of the session.


  1.   Poor or inadequate preparation

Sometimes people go to a meeting because it was scheduled in their agenda, without knowing the purpose of the meeting. They will come unprepared! What’s to be done? Ensure people know why they are meeting beforehand. It all starts with the invitation: include a clear goal, agenda items, why this meeting is important and what needs to be prepared. It helps everyone get on the same page before you even walk into the room. Get ready for productive meetings!

To learn more, check out How to plan an efficient meeting.

  1.   People are not engaged

When people are not engaged, decisions may be made that are later questioned and not implemented as hoped. Without some regular interaction, office and department members become isolated, making collaboration and cooperation more difficult. You can help ensure that key players attend meetings and provide input when needed. Here are some strategies you can employ to encourage participants to be more engaged in meetings:

  • Have others contribute to the meeting content
  • Regularly ask for input and invite questions
  • Make your meeting lively and interactive
  • Throw in some games

To learn more, check out 8 tips for engaging meetings and energized attendees.

  1.   Lack of follow through on tasks

There’s nothing that can measure the effectiveness of your meeting better than what happens afterward. Your meeting has been a waste of time if people don’t follow-through on action plans, tasks and decisions after the meeting ends. Whatever the cause, it’s a frustrating thing to spend time in meetings with people to resolve things, but nothing happens afterward. You can use these tools and techniques to achieve more effective follow-through after a meeting:

  • Write down actions and always have one name next to each action. This way it’ll be clear who’s accountable for it.
  • There is nothing like a deadline to stimulate action!
  • Write down actions with a verb. For example, “Powerpoint Presentation” is not good. You may know what it means when you write it down, but you’ll quickly forget it. Instead phrase it in a way that is measurable, for example, “Create Powerpoint Presentation on meetings.”


If you think these tips are helpful to overcome your meeting problems, you’re gonna love GAIKU. A powerful web app for more efficient and fun meetings. GAIKU will give active guidance before, during and after any type of meeting. Sign up today and improve your meetings!

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Download our free e-book about meetings!

Do you want to learn more about meetings and how you can improve them to save time?

We’ve created an e-book ‘A brief introduction to meetings’. Chapters include meeting agenda, meeting types, meeting rhythms, what are meeting minutes, giving and receiving feedback, group decision making methods, and much more.

CLICK HERE to go to the download page.