5 Ways to Make Your Meetings More Productive

1. Start on time.

2. If there’s someone with a reputation for tardiness without whom the meeting can’t take place, schedule a briefing with him 15 minutes beforehand. If he gets there on time, use that 15 minutes to discuss the big issues. If he’s 15 minutes late, he won’t hold things up.

3. Distribute a short agenda to all participants the day before the meeting.

4. Set and enforce a strict time limit for each agenda item. Discussion should end when a specific action has been determined, written down, and assigned.

5. Every five or six meetings, ask for suggestions to improve the way you’re running the proceedings.


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  • David Cross is a little on edge. He’s Senior Internet Consultant to Agora Inc. And Editor of ETR’s Internet Rant newsletter. He works hard to make sure marketing produces sales for his clients and readers. So it disturbs him to see so many “gurus” — who have no idea what they’re talking about — spouting wrong-headed strategies all over the Web. And they charge a bundle for it! In each issue of the Rant, David exposes another Internet marketing myth — and tells you what to do instead. Find out more about it here.

“Initially, I felt discomfort every time I read ETR.”

“I want to first of all thank you immensely for the wonderful advice I get from you and your team daily. It’s been tremendously helpful, and I appreciate it very much.

“You may find what I’m going to say a bit funny. Lately, I’ve been referring to ETR as the ZERO, as in the Japanese WWII fighter plane. I don’t know if the English phrase ‘to zero in on’ something came from this WWII plane. But ETR has the uncanny ability to take a seemingly simple business problem and then zero in hard on it to expose its very essence. Usually, before you even finish the process of zeroing in, the solution simply begins to reveal itself.

“Initially, I felt discomfort every time I read ETR, because it wasn’t always easy having to admit and face some rather brutal home truths. Then I started implementing your advice and learned to turn all that firepower to my advantage. I look forward to ETR every new day now. It is changing the way I do many things.

“Thanks again, and keep up the very good work.”

Emmanuel Wainchom Kijem
Douala, Cameroon

[Ed. Note: Mark Morgan Ford was the creator of Early To Rise. In 2011, Mark retired from ETR and now writes the Palm Beach Letter. His advice, in our opinion, continues to get better and better with every essay, particularly in the controversial ones we have shared today. We encourage you to read everything you can that has been written by Mark.]
  • I think you’ve just captured the answer perfeclty