meeting in office business discussion

I work for a multinational corporation with worldwide operations. The demands put on me to be available at any time of day (or night) are ridiculous. I am constantly being dragged into meetings that take up time and only a small proportion of it is relevant. I’m drowning and don’t know how best to take control of my time and workload.

As multinational companies start to extend into different territories, demands on people’s time can increase massively - not just during the working day but also out of hours as teams work across multiple time zones.

As a manager you need to carefully consider how you use your time. Do you need to be in that meeting? We’ve all had to sit through a conference call that is ineffective or even a waste of time. Is there a better way? A summary report after the meeting could be one solution.

Often meetings have an agenda item for each area and participants end up sitting through a lot of information that’s just not relevant to them. Have the confidence to leave a meeting if it’s not useful. The culture in the UK is very polite but you need to see this approach as efficient rather than rude.

Do your meetings organise you? Or do you organise yourself? In coaching sessions with retail professionals, we encourage them to analyse the proportion of their time spent in meetings. When invited to attend a meeting ask yourself: is this meeting important?

Not all meetings are a waste of time. Some companies in retail have established ‘rules of the game’ for efficient meetings - how long meetings should be, who talks when, respecting punctuality for both the start and finish time. Is this something you could introduce?

Being successful in a multinational is about taking time and meeting management to the next level. It’s about having the ability to say no, staying focused on your job and delegating more.

Often senior managers are called into meetings as a safety net - empower your team to manage meetings and make their own decisions. Having a coaching conversation before a meeting can be an effective way of supporting a team member to find their own solutions.

Beniot Maheé is the founder of CapKelenn and author of Retail Coaching and The Connected Salesperson. Contact