May 12st, 2020

Three meetings that always suck

Melissa Du profile image
Melissa Du
Blog Figure

If you've ever worked at a large company, chances are high that you've attended many life-draining meetings that left you glancing at the clock every 5 minutes, planning your glorious departure. And if you’ve never been to a bad meeting, consider yourself lucky! According to Freakonomics, ~55 million meetings are held in the US every single day and most of them are considered unproductive.

Meetings are the most popular and widespread collaboration tool that teams use to get work done. We use meetings to brainstorm new ideas, coordinate project tasks, and build rapport with teammates. But just like any other tool, meetings can be effective or ineffective depending on how and when they’re used.

Three bad meetings
  1. The "Monday morning" check-in meeting. You know this meeting well: 10-12 team members sit around a conference table and give individual status reports to their manager. Meetings are not well-suited for this one-to-many communication style because one person is updating a large group of people and little-to-no discussion is required.
  2. The "context-sharing" meeting. These are the meetings that "should have been emails". No new decisions are made during these meetings, and the purpose of them is to inform different stakeholders about the project's status or upcoming events, which is almost always more effective if done asynchronously.
  3. The recurring project team meeting (that never has an agenda).These meetings keep reappearing on your calendar at set intervals, but curiously never have a strong purpose or agenda. As Parkinson's Law aptly highlights, somehow your team fills up the allotted time block with miscellaneous, one-off topics that could have been discussed later (or not at all).
Stop your bad meetings

Surprise, surprise: none of those meetings have to be bad. Unfortunately, most of them tend to suck because, as we mentioned above, the tool (the meeting) isn't well-suited for the use case.

While unproductive meetings are the scourge of the workplace, we often can't fault teams for defaulting to meetings as their de facto collaboration tool because there simply isn't a better way to keep teams up-to-date and aware of what's going on. This is the gap that we're addressing with Cadence.

If you're curious about how you can help your teams be more productive, then leave your email below or send us a note anytime at

Share this article:

The Cadence Blog

Subscribe for effective meeting tips and team productivity strategies.