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Oct 10, 2012

Office meetings are an inevitable part of the office routine, yet they are often considered time sucking rituals where little work actually gets done. A lack of etiquette and poor planning are two of the main reasons why many business meetings fail, said business expert Lyndsay Swinton.

Here are ten tips for making business meetings effective.

1. The chairperson of the meeting should send out a meeting agenda to each participant at least one week in advance. The agenda should clearly state the meeting start and ending times.

2. If you’re holding the presentation, make sure the handouts, slides, or other materials are ready at least three days prior to the meeting.

3. As in a movie theater, silence cell phones. If you’re expecting an importantly call, put your phone on vibrate and excuse yourself from the meeting before answering it.

4, Meetings should have a break every two hours. Breaks should be 20 minutes long, and meal breaks should be 30 minutes long, says the Houston Chronicle.

5. Like in school, raise your hand for a question rather than blurting it out. Wait until the end of the meeting or another specified time to ask questions.

6. If you are speaking, avoid nervous habits like tapping a pen on a table, fidgeting unnecessarily, tapping your feet, or other things that can distract from the presentation.

7. Set a time limit for the meeting and abide by it.

8. If a meeting goes off topic, remind the attendees about the agenda and bring it back to the suggestion at hand.

9. If the meeting discusses problems, be sure to be prepared to offer some solutions.

10. After the meeting, provide the meeting details to those who couldn’t attend. Also, follow up with the participants and give them a list of action items, resolutions and issues that remain open.

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