We have all experienced meetings which drag on far too long. In fact, so much so that 73% of professionals have time to do other work in meetings according to Atlassian, a productivity software company. So how is it possible to know when it’s time to call it a day and hang up a conference call? Below are just a few of the classic signs that your call has gone on far too long.

When everything has already been covered

In an ideal world, every conference call will have an agenda and a set of tasks which are to be completed by the end of it. However, it is natural that conversation sometimes takes a turn and everyone ends up improvising new topics throughout the call. This is not always an issue, and a lot of people love longer meetings. The problem is when what is being discussed is no longer relevant or productive and is instead just dragging the call out unnecessarily. Times like these are when to end the meeting and call it a day.

When you wind up completely off-track

If you planned a meeting to talk about the efficiency of telemarketing sales agents in your company and future strategies for hitting their targets, but somehow end up discussing what is for lunch at the deli on the corner, it is undoubtedly time to wrap it up. Although no one quite knows how or why you got there, it is definitely not productive and staff could be using time spent on that call working instead.

When no agenda was set out

The worst meetings are those without a plan or structure. Some conference calls have no agenda at all and may just be held every Tuesday morning at 11am, merely because the participants have grown accustomed to holding a call at that time each week. These sorts of meetings are often the biggest waste of time and everyone ends up discussing irrelevant things as nobody knows what direction to steer the conversation.

Or alternatively, they may be organised in a bid to address an actual problem, but the person who called for the meeting may not have properly outlined the issues they wish to discuss. Preparation is key if meeting efficiency and staff productivity is what you strive for. A good leader will always create a plan in advance with clear goals for the meeting.

When you learn too much information about fellow participants

We all appreciate getting to know our colleagues better and developing relationships with our coworkers undeniably helps everyone work together as a team. However, there is a time and place for team building and social chats, and conference calls are not that. Calls can often devolved into discussions about plans for the weekend, local bars and restaurants and other topics which are irrelevant to the business and do not fall anywhere within the agenda set out prior to the call.