Too many business meetings are utter wastes of time. People drone on and on and little is accomplished, other than the avoidance of actual, productive work. Here are a set of simple rules to keep your meetings brief and to the point.
The only reason to have a meeting is to discuss an issue and come to a decision about next steps. If you can't pinpoint why you're calling the meeting, don't call one.
The agenda should consist of the goal, followed by a few (no more than 7) questions that move from the general to the specific.
An hour is about as long as most people can focus on a single subject, which is why most college classes are only an hour long. (This rule is easy if you follow the other rules.)
Presumably everybody at the meeting can read, so there's no reason to go over material that can be quickly skimmed and absorbed.
It's rude to force meeting-goers to backtrack over material that's already been covered. If the latecomer absolutely must be present, postpone the meeting.
This rule provides a HUGE incentive to EVERYONE to wrap up the meeting quickly. Need to take notes? Use paper and pencil.
If the purpose of the meeting is to discuss information that's in a presentation, the presentation (with notes) should be distributed and read beforehand.
In a world of shared documents and "review mode" there's no reason people should be sitting down to "craft" a document. Group writing always results in crap anyway.
The reason here is to hold the person who called the meeting accountable for achieving (or failing to achieve) that meeting's concrete, measurable goal.
If you think the rules above are impractical, try them for two weeks. Break your addiction to pointless meetings and you'll be surprised how much real work gets done.
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