Employers are being urged to ensure their meetings run more efficiently by drawing up agendas, recording minutes and asking staff to participate.

Research by Proudfoot Consulting shows that businesses are wasting significant sums of money by failing to plan ahead and follow up their discussions.

Only 29 per cent of respondents to the operational improvement consultancy’s survey said they prepare an agenda before each meeting and only one third take minutes.

Furthermore, just 15 per cent said their meetings include active participation by employees, while half of all internal meetings were found to overrun.

Jean Thevelin, European president of Proudfoot Consulting, said: "Inefficiency in meetings, a key area in business communication, can literally cost organisations millions a year."

And he added that staff productivity can also suffer as a result of ineffective meetings as staff often leave the room "without a sense of purpose".

Investment bank Citigroup recently banned off-site meetings in a bid to ensure spending efficiencies.