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Economist and workplace commentator Stephanie Hare has published ideas on why British productivity is so low.  A majority of us know that meetings are a big problem… taking too long, unproductive and tedious half the time.

The worst offenders are conference calls and video conferencing when technical issues take up the first few minutes. Does this sound familiar? People get settled and then in comes the obligatory latecomer and the whole scenario starts over again.

Frequently meetings involve people who do not really need to be there.  They are often badly organised, have a lack of any agenda and if they have an agenda, people rarely keep to it.  They invariably run over time, people like the sound of their own voice and the meeting closes without any action points.  It is left with no one knowing who is doing what.

Useful Tips…

Use the first 5 minutes for people to read the papers, as invariably they will not have done so.

Research shows that more women will speak up if the first question or comment is offered by a woman.

One last tip is to seek honest feedback on meetings from attendees. If feedback is poor, cut numbers, tighten up agendas and ensure everyone is heard.

Employers:  Structure meetings correctly, stick to the agenda and don’t invite too many people – it’s simply a waste of time.