What’s Your Best Meeting Disaster Story?

PHOTO CREDIT: Markus Spiske / raumrot.com

The finance manager of our group called the meeting. It was a pretty big department, maybe 15 people. A director, a couple of managers and editorial people, designers, sysadmins, web producers. We had to use the large conference room.

All we knew was it was something about an opportunity to make more money with our web sites.

It turned out to be a 3-hour sales pitch for an advertising service. Somehow, the salesman had convinced the manager to give them our time. All our time.

The natives began to grow restless as the discussion started eating into lunchtime. Those of us on the technical side started asking pointed questions; maybe we thought if we could derail the presentation with some kind of “can’t do it” bomb, it would stop.

We were bored, and pissed off at this useless waste of time, and hungry.

At one of these questions, the salesman looked confused, and the finance manager, trying to make the best of it, encouraged him not to worry about it.

“Oh,” she explained, waving a hand towards us, “They’re from our back end.”

At which point we just lost it, convulsing into laughter at a juvenile butt joke. The mature grown-ups in the room were horrified by us.

But the meeting closed shortly thereafter.

Everybody knows that bad meetings waste time and therefore money.

Using a meeting cost estimator, I figure the cost of the same meeting today would be at least $3200.

We didn’t use the advertising service either, and got no return on that investment, either.

The time-as-money cost of bad meetings is just the tip of the iceberg, though.

Bad meetings also destroy morale, propagate misinformation, and cause resentments among team members.

These will destroy your organization from within.

Bad meetings are an easily solvable problem. There are specific techniques and best practices you can use to get any team to work better in meetings together. Implement them and you’ll get better collaboration, see greater innovation, and achieve 10X team productivity.

That’s why we launched a Meeting Mastery Certification.

And we wrote the definitive guide to running better meetings: Meeting Mastery: The Coach.me Leader’s Guide to Meetings with Impact.

This book gives you the top facilitation techniques you can use to lead top-notch meetings. And it helps you diagnose really stinky meetings via “Meeting Smells”—and gives you the precise techniques you need to use to end stinky meetings altogether.

We’re Celebrating!

Want to get a copy of the book for free? Great! We’re launching a contest to find stories of the stinkiest meetings in the world. Here’s the deal:

  • Respond to this post with your own meeting disaster story by June 10, 2016.
  • We’ll select our three top favorites and send those authors the paperback copy of the book—for free!
  • We’ll also select one person randomly from all responses to get a free copy.

Ready? Okay: what’s your worst meeting disaster story? The stinkiest meeting ever? The worst waste of time, the one with the ginormous f-ed up fall-out?

Post it as a response here. We can’t wait to read them!

Editor, Better Humans. Coach.me. Bubbler. Hawk watcher, birder. Permaculture fan. RPCV (Ghana 2011–2013). http://terrie.me

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