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Accountemps Survey Identifies Managers' Biggest Meeting Pet Peeves

MENLO PARK, Calif., July 19, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Planning a meeting? Better start on time -- and have a good reason for scheduling it. Nearly one-third (31 percent) of managers interviewed for an Accountemps survey said beginning or ending late tops their list of meeting pet peeves. Getting the group together unnecessarily was the second most common complaint, cited by 27 percent of respondents.

The survey was developed by Accountemps, the world's first and largest specialized staffing service for temporary accounting, finance and bookkeeping professionals. It was conducted by an independent research firm and is based on telephone interviews with more than 1,000 senior managers at companies with 20 or more employees.

Senior managers were asked, "Which one of the following is your biggest pet peeve when it comes to meetings?" Their responses:


Not keeping to the schedule, e.g., starting


 or ending the meeting late



Meetings that seem unnecessary



Attendees using PDAs or laptops for


 non-meeting-related activities



People interrupting each other



Meetings scheduled during lunch






"With so many people already stretched for time, it's important to only call staff together when a physical gathering or conference call is the best way to communicate," said Max Messmer, chairman of Accountemps and author of Human Resources Kit For Dummies®, 2nd Edition (John Wiley & Sons, Inc.). "Long-standing meetings, in particular, should be continually reassessed, because groups often meet out of habit rather than due to a compelling need."

Messmer added, "Short, focused meetings are often the most productive. Organizers and participants both play a role in keeping these gatherings in check."

Accountemps identifies five signs that your meeting could be a time waster -- and offers suggestions for how to correct it :

  1. You've left nothing out. While you should have an agenda, it shouldn't look like a follow-up to War and Peace. The onus is on the organizer to determine what must be covered and what can be left out.
  2. Everyone's invited. Scan your list of attendees to determine who really needs to be included in the discussion. Often, people are invited as a courtesy rather than necessity. A lengthy participant list also may indicate you are trying to accomplish too much in a single meeting.
  3. It will run longer than an hour. It's hard to keep an audience's attention for an extended period of time. If you must schedule a meeting for more than an hour, try to get people to interact, offer them snacks or vary the speakers to help everyone stay engaged.
  4. There are too many visual elements. Visuals, such as PowerPoint presentations, can be effective for simplifying complex ideas, but they also can bog down the discussion. Instead, distribute the slides to attendees before you meet to give them a chance to review and prepare comments in advance.
  5. It's routine. If you have regularly scheduled meetings, you may want to determine if they are still necessary. For instance, if it's difficult to come up with enough agenda items for each gathering or the meetings are getting progressively shorter, you may need to adjust the frequency.


Accountemps has more than 350 offices worldwide and offers online job search services at Follow Accountemps for workplace news at


SOURCE Accountemps

For further information: Tracy Fine, +1-650-234-6320,, for Accountemps