If you’re like most people, you spend a good portion of your workweek in meetings. The higher your level in your organization, the more meetings you are likely to attend. For example, the average CEO spends 72% of their time in meetings. Here’s the kicker, though – most of these meetings don’t accomplish much. Research shows that about 71% of meetings are unproductive.

Poorly run meetings can have many negative impacts, according to executive coach Dr. Luis Velasquez. Among them include a decline in performance, cohesion and success. That’s why it’s important for leaders to understand why meetings get derailed. When leaders know what to look for, they can address the issues before they get out of hand.

Keep reading this issue of PromoPro Daily for Dr. Velasquez’s thoughts on four common meeting derailers to avoid.

1. Tackling unsolvable problems. Dr. Velasquez calls these “gravity problems.” This is when your team gets caught up discussing a challenge or issue that’s fundamentally unsolvable at the team level – much like the force of gravity. Focusing on these kinds of problems can drain your team and leave everyone frustrated.

2. Making too many assumptions. This could mean making assumptions about others on your team, which could lead to a culture of mistrust and suspicion. Or it could mean making excessive assumptions about a specific issue without having any validations. The bottom line is that assumption overload can lead to negative consequences beyond just derailing your meetings.

3. Fielding negative thoughts. Unproductive thinking patterns, which Dr. Velasquez calls “annoying negative thoughts” can affect meeting outcomes. Watch for these negative thoughts in the form of all-or-nothing thinking, overgeneralization and catastrophizing. Meetings could also get derailed if you spend too much time reassuring a team member of the validity of their idea.

4. Chasing squirrels. Dr. Velasquez says some people have difficulty staying focused on the purpose of the meeting and introduce unrelated tangents – or squirrels. For example, if you called a meeting to discuss project specifics and a team member continues circling back to details on a separate project, your team is getting sidetracked. This squirrel chasing wastes time and frustrates other staff members.

Don’t let your meetings end up wasting everyone’s time. Bring more focus and clarity to your meetings by staying aware of the derailers above.

Compiled by Audrey Sellers

Source: Luis Velasquez, MBA, Ph.D. is an executive coach who works with senior leaders and their teams to become more cohesive, effective and resilient. He is the founder and managing partner of Velas Coaching LLC.