As all of us know, most meetings are a pain. Many attendees are there only out of obligation or fear of being negatively perceived.

A recent article by Paul Axtell in the Harvard Business Review, entitled “5 Common Complaints about Meetings and What to Do about Them,” takes a refreshing look at how meetings might be significantly enhanced.

The article lists five of what Axtell – a corporate trainer and author of Meetings Matter – has found to be the most common complaints about meetings. These include, “One or two people dominate the conversation and no one does anything about it,” and “We keep having the same conversations because nothing gets done between meetings.” He addresses each complaint in turn with useful suggestions and tested strategies. Axtell’s article not only speaks to the meeting facilitator, but also to its participants.

No one (I hope) calls a meeting for no reason whatsoever. It is in everyone’s best interest to ensure that the meetings they call – and those they attend – are not only productive, but also as pain-free as possible. If everyone attending a meeting read Axtell’s article (in advance of, not during the meeting), and thought about what they could do to make the meeting more effective, I have no doubt that the improvement in outcomes would be both immediate and considerable.

Do Axtell’s complaints sound familiar to you? Can you suggest other ways to address them? Let me know your thoughts on this or any other matter related to the law, either in the comments below or directly via email.