How to conduct creative (and productive) meetings

Meetings account for the greatest amount of unproductive time (topping telephone calls, emails, paperwork, travel and office gossip) according to a Wall Street Journal survey. Despite the advent of advanced telecommunications technology, there’s still no escape from meetings. How can we make them more efficient, productive and creative?

First, ask yourself: Is this meeting absolutely necessary? Can the issue be resolved through a telephone conversation or a face-to-face get-together between two or perhaps three people? If so, then there is no need for a meeting in the first place.

If a meeting is absolutely necessary, then at least some thought has already been invested in the subject. A meeting without some preliminary work generally wastes everyone’s time.

Other important considerations are set out below.


Set a proper agenda and circulate it before the meeting. The agenda should cover a few key items only (preferably, no more than five). Issues that can easily be resolved by informal discussions between two or three people should not be included. The agenda must be strictly adhered to during the meeting.

Fix the duration of the meeting beforehand, so that participants can make the necessary scheduling for the day. Allocate a maximum of two hours for each meeting.

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