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Lead Your Team Managing

Want to Build a Better Meeting? Be on Time and on Point


Want to become your company’s meeting maven? Start them on time and have a good reason for scheduling them, a new survey suggests. Nobody likes a time suck .

Nearly a third  of senior managers interviewed for a survey by staffing agency Accountemps said that meetings that begin or end late topped their list of workplace pet peeves. Unnecessary meetings, cited by 27 percent, came in a close second.

Other major meeting irritants included attendees using PDAs or laptops for non-meeting-related activities (18 percent), people interrupting each other (15 percent) and meetings scheduled during lunch (9 percent).

"With so many people already stretched for time, it's important to only call staff together when a physical gathering or conference call is the best way to communicate," said Max Messmer, chairman of Accountemps. "Long-standing meetings, in particular, should be continually reassessed, because groups often meet out of habit rather than due to a compelling need."

While you should have a meeting agenda, Accountemps said, it shouldn't read like "War and Peace." If you want to run effective meetings, determine what can be covered and what can be left out.

Scan your list of attendees to determine who really needs to be included in the discussion. Often, people are invited as a courtesy rather than a necessity.

Keep it brief, Accountemps recommends. It's hard to keep an audience's attention for an extended period of time. And go easy on the eye candy ; visuals such as PowerPoint presentations can be effective for simplifying complex ideas, but they also can bog down the discussion.

"Short, focused meetings are often the most productive," said Messmer. "Organizers and participants both play a role in keeping these gatherings in check."



Reach BusinessNewsDaily senior writer Ned Smith at nsmith@techmedianetwork.com. Follow him on Twitter @nedbsmith.






Ned Smith

Ned was senior writer at Sweeney Vesty, an international consulting firm, and was Vice President of communications for iQuest Analytics. Before that, he has been a web editor and managed the Internet and intranet sites for Citizens Communications. He began his journalism career as a police reporter with the Roanoke (Va.) Times, and was managing editor of American Way magazine and senior editor of Us. He was a Captain in the U.S. Air Force and has a masters in journalism from the University of Arizona.