As much as we’d like them to be, meetings aren’t purely logical business mechanisms; like any human interaction, they’re embedded with non-rational dynamics. Consider underlying motivations and personal agendas: For some people, being part of a meeting is a status symbol, so they may continue to attend even when they have little to contribute. Others view meetings as social gatherings, or opportunities to score political points. No matter how clear the agenda, everyone will arrive with a different perspective.
Some attendees will consider it high priority, while others will show up late. Some participants are comfortable letting someone else take the lead, while others will sabotage the leader or become passive aggressive. These unconscious aspects can undermine effectiveness, but understanding them improves your chance of actually accomplishing something.
Adapted from “The Hidden Side of Meetings,” by Ron Ashkenas.