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Build a better meeting

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Do you spend much of your workday dashing from one pointless meeting to the next?

If left unchecked, the time spent on meetings can quickly swell, filling your entire day.

In fact, according to software company Atlassian, U.S. businesses waste $37 billion a year on meetings.

Here are three signs you’re in a bad meeting, from Joel D. Levitt, management consultant and author of 10 Minutes a Week to Great Meetings

Your meeting rambles on without a clear purpose or agenda. A specific agenda can reduce the length of the meeting and therefore the amount of time wasted. In a poll of management leaders, 90 percent blamed a lack of planning and organization for the failure of meetings. Combat this by taking a moment to review the agenda at the meeting’s opening. Make sure everyone is given the responsibility of pointing out if the meeting has veered away from the agenda.

People are texting, emailing or otherwise distracted. Set forth ground rules before the meeting begins: No texting, emailing or other interruptions during the meeting. If attendees forget and begin breaking the rules, gently remind them.

People show up unprepared. Perhaps you’ve attended a meeting at which attendees have not read the relevant reports, document or spreadsheets. In order to be successful, your firm needs to hold employees accountable. When you send out the agenda ahead of the meeting, make sure your expectations are explicit. If attendees continue to show up unprepared, it should be explained that when they fail to report on their work, they’re being disrespectful of others and wasting a valuable company resource—time.

If meetings are an essential part of day, do what you can to make them as productive as possible. There’s a science to good meetings. Try these tips to arrive at the formula that works best for you. 

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