I appreciated your article "Escape From Meeting Hell" [May, Patrick J. Sauer], and agree with many of your "15 ways to make meetings productive, creative, even fun." I think you failed to emphasize the most fundamental way, though. As president of my own consulting firm and adviser to companies on organizational effectiveness, I've thought about this issue a lot. First and foremost, I tell my clients to make their meetings more collaborative. Rather than talking at your people, engage them in the conversation, elicit their feedback, and maybe even involve them in final decisions. The collaborative process helps in three ways. First, it draws on and shares the collective knowledge of the people in the room. Secondly, it increases the likelihood that employees will act on decisions made in the meeting upon leaving the room. Lastly, I find it makes meetings more dynamic.

Another thing--I wish the article had touched on the topic of virtual teams and the unique challenges they face when it comes to meetings. I hope Inc. will tackle this in an upcoming issue.

Anne Pellicciotto, President, SeeChange Consulting Inc., Washington, D.C.

A Novel Approach

The "How I Did It" feature in your May issue highlights the savviest and most refreshing business owner I've ever come across. Bravo to Michael Powell! I, too, am driving forward in my business by exercising passion. Along the way, I'm finding Grand Canyon-size cracks in my industry, but if I acquire half of Powell's wisdom in 10 years, I'll celebrate. With all of his expertise in selling books, I hope that he will soon write one of his own.

C. J. Volk
Citron Paint & Design

Who Fired Whom?

I got a kick out of your May Street Smarts column [Norm Brodsky]. With all due respect, Norm, you were the one who was fired by your insurance company, accountant, and bank -- you just didn't know it! While you may have been the one to officially end those relationships, it seems to me that the business you gave them mattered more to you than it did to them. Despite being a dissatisfied customer, you tolerated their excuses, indifference, and outright neglect for more than a year. That allowed them to ignore you and pay more attention to other customers.

This column served as a great reminder that, as business owners and entrepreneurs, we are responsible for managing all our business relationships -- not only with all our customers but, as you pointed out, also with all our suppliers and service providers. If you would have demanded attention and service sooner and more vociferously, you might have determined that they did not want your business earlier, thereby saving time and aggravation in the process.

Leslie Ann Fishbein
Kacey Fine Furniture

Contact us at mail@inc.com or Inc. Letters Editor, 375 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10017. Please include your name, address, and phone number for verification. Letters may be edited for space and style. For help with subscriptions, call 515-248-7694.