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Tame the meeting madness

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in Admins,Office Management

Almost half of executives say that employees would be more productive if their companies banned meetings one day a week, according to a recent survey by OfficeTeam.

That may be the case, but administrative assistants say meetings are still very much a part of every day—to a fault. There are not enough hours in the day to accommodate all the high-priority meetings,” says one executive assistant.

How are admins taming the meeting madness? Suggestions from readers:

• Reduce the length of the meetings, from 60 minutes to 45 or 30 minutes. One reader says, “After 30 minutes, you lose the attention of your audience.”

• Hold meetings over lunch or dinner. Some people even prefer breakfast meetings. The meal is quicker and there’s less inclination to linger.

• Sit down with your manager every few months to review all scheduled meetings and see if you can cancel any.

• Ask for agenda items from participants the week before the meeting. If no agenda items come in by a certain time, cancel the meeting. Says one reader, “We’ve cut the number of ‘standard’ meetings in half because there are no urgent matters to discuss.”

• Send out the agenda in advance. After doing this habitually, one admin says, “People can come prepared, which sometimes cuts down the meeting time.”

• Set a time limit on each discussion item and stick to the topic.

• Move on to the next agenda item if you can’t thoroughly discuss an item because people or information is missing. Assign the task to specific people, so they can continue working on it outside the meeting and discuss it again next time you gather.

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