How to break the four curses of useless meetings

The average British employee will endure a staggering 6,240 meetings over the course of a working lifetime. So it’s worrying that recent research reveals three out of five workers think meetings are pointless and held ‘for the sake of it’. On that basis, it’s hardly surprising that 70% admit to regularly zoning out in meetings and one in five claim to have fallen asleep. And this lack of attentiveness can have serious consequences: one in five confess to having made a mistake (a quarter of them ‘monumental clangers’) due to lack of mental presence in meetings.

It’s not that meetings per se are obsolete to today’s businesses, but we’re all guilty to some extent of failing to take an active enough role, whether as organisers or participants, to make them worthwhile. To improve your meetings, first, you need to know how to identify what type of spell everyone is under.

The “déja vu” curse

The problem with regular meetings is that there just isn’t enough material to sustain them, so everyone’s doomed to rehash the same minor points, even if there’s nothing new to say. Little wonder participants tend to drift off.

The “blurred lines” curse

Get-togethers should be used to thrash out problems and solutions but typically, action points just don’t get given priority by attendees after the event – often because people see meetings as ancillary to what’s happening on the ground in business.

The “off piste” curse

When there’s no agenda, no structure and no single person responsible for facilitating a meeting, delegates can fall into the trap of treating face time as a “break time” – discussing anything and everything other than the issue at hand.

The “OTT” curse

Meeting overkill is a plague on companies, with staff pulled away from their desks and profit-making tasks to listen to others talk about, rather than do their jobs. And in an average meeting of 10 delegates, research shows that six of them don’t think they should be there.

Once you identify these types of bad meetings, it’s easier to take positive action – as an organiser or as an attendee – to redeem meetings as a business tool. After all, you wouldn’t go into an interview with your bank manager or prospective employer unprepared, so why do the same at work?

To find out how you can make meetings matter and break these common curses without having to kiss any frogs, read our eBook: Break the curse of useless meetings.

How to break the curse of useless meetings

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About the author

Clare Kemp is Senior Campaign Manager for Northern Europe at Citrix. In her spare time she enjoys playing golf, tennis, attending fitness classes and walking her two crazy cocker spaniels. She really enjoys the flexibility of being able to work from home as she hates wasting time sitting in traffic on the M25. Connect with Clare on LinkedIn and Twitter. More blog posts by Clare Kemp ››
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