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Image…or 11 Ways to Run the Meeting from Hell!

Often described as the biggest time wasters in the workplace, meetings can sometimes feel like hell on earth. Lin Sagovsky offers a few tongue-in-cheek suggestions of what NOT to do to get the most out of those inevitable gatherings.

1. With all meetings, the more the merrier, especially if most people there haven't a clue why they're in the room.

2. Make sure everyone sits on either side of a long, long table. People will then be forced to lean forward to hear what's being said at the far end. (If there are too many people in the way to do that, tough. Anyway, it might keep people marginally more engaged if they're constantly yo-yoing about with others who are blocking their view.)

3. If you have regular meetings with the same people, make sure everyone always sits in the same place. Glare at anyone who dares to make a move to sit somewhere different.

4. Dispense with introductions at the start - that's just wasting time.

"Never paint yourself into a corner by committing to a particular end time for the meeting."

5. Never allow jokes. Business meetings should be serious stuff at all times.

6. Never ask any individual for a comment or opinion. Or if you do, be sure to pounce on someone at the most unexpected moment. (That'll teach them to pretend they're shy.)

7. If people wander off the agenda, that's fine - meetings are meant to bring stuff to the surface that might not get said otherwise. Actually, better still - don't have an agenda: keep things freeform.

8. Never paint yourself into a corner by committing to a particular end time for the meeting. Let people leave when they have to. (Or say they do.)

9. If everyone talks at once, let them. In all probability no-one's saying anything worth listening to and they'll probably shut up eventually.

10. If someone's audibly sighing a lot or rolling their eyes and 'tutting' at what's being said, show that you can rise above their sulking or passive aggression by ignoring it. Alternatively, make pointedly sarcastic remarks about it to someone else.

11. Defer as many decisions as possible to the next meeting.


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