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7 Deadly Sins of Business Meetings

Skype meetings used to be a weekly ritual for InQuicker, a health-care IT company with offices in Nashville, Tenn., and Vancouver, B.C. "It had always felt a bit contrived to meet weekly," says company co-founder and CEO, Michael Brody-Waite. "I think it hurt morale to place what is essentially a giant productivity speed bump in the middle of every work week. When we really thought about it, there weren't too many issues coming up in our weekly meetings that needed everyone's attention."

InQuicker finally changed the meeting schedule to once a month and began using Google Hangouts so that 10 people can share the screen in a less formal setting. That made everyone happier—and more productive.

InQuicker is not alone when it comes to dysfunctional meetings. For many businesses, routine meetings can lack focus and a clear agenda and end up wasting time and boring people.

"The last thing a meeting organizer wants is their attendees to be sitting in a conference room or on the phone wondering what the meeting is for, why they were asked to join, or what the output will be," says Kathryn Hammond, owner of BlueSpire Strategic Marketing, a Minneapolis-based marketing company. "If a meeting doesn't have a defined agenda and concrete next steps, I can almost guarantee you will see people playing with their phones or hear people typing in the background."

Here, seven deadly sins to watch for in business meetings -- and tips on how to redeem yourself.

By Lisa Girard | Entrepreneur