12 ways to make meetings suck

Marko Anastasov
1 min readApr 13, 2021


A Meeting of the School Trustees — Robert Harris

Sometimes we’re so prone to failure that advice sticks better when inverted. Here’s a list of ways to waste everyone’s time at a meeting—so we can all do better.

  1. Have a meeting instead of sending an email. Or thinking for yourself.
  2. Don’t provide an agenda for the meeting in advance.
  3. If someone does send an agenda and supporting documents before the meeting, skip them. Just ask for someone to bring you up to speed when the session begins.
  4. The more, the merrier. Invite everyone who might know something about or be interested in the topic.
  5. Practice bikeshedding, aka Parkinson’s law of triviality: spend most of the time on minor but easy-to-grasp issues, neglect challenging tasks with high impact.
  6. Leave the most important topics until the end of the meeting.
  7. Interrupt people when they speak, especially when they’re on-topic.
  8. Those who are not speaking probably don’t have anything to say, so don’t ask for their opinion.
  9. Talk at length about a tangential issue that’s irrelevant to the agenda.
  10. Contribute a personal anecdote as hard evidence.
  11. Make decisions in line with the HIPPO: highest-paid person’s opinion.
  12. Meeting notes and action steps? Don’t bother.



Marko Anastasov

Entrepreneur, Software Engineer, and Author · Helping developers move fast with SemaphoreCI.com · 🍓