DEAR ABBY: How do you convince co-workers to stay on topic and on track in business meetings? Each week I am required to attend a mandatory meeting, and each week the people in that meeting drag in personal issues or start talking about the news.
I have tried suggesting that we stay on track and keep the meetings brief, but it's not working -- especially since management is one of the worst offenders. Please respond! -- ON TRACK IN LAWTON, OKLA.
DEAR ON TRACK: Some companies have eliminated meetings for exactly the reason you have described and found that productivity increased. Those who schedule regular meetings keep them on track by listing the subjects to be discussed on an agenda and sticking to it. However, someone must control the meeting and ensure that the agenda is adhered to.
Because your boss is causing the problem, there is nothing you or I can do about it. If it was another employee, "someone" could suggest that the topic of conversation wasn't on the agenda and a better time for discussing it would be during a break or at lunch.