Business meetings are too often long, boring and senseless.

However, meetings are also a useful way of giving department heads and employees a forum in which to provide their input.

The solution, according to, to avoiding meeting overload is to make your meetings more efficient and streamlined.

Consider who needs to be there.

The more people you invite, the longer the meeting will last.

Craft your agenda in advance.

Put together a draft of the agenda a couple of days beforehand and circulate it to the other attendees to obtain their input. This builds ownership of the agenda by the team. Your agenda should contain the following: the meeting objective, the questions the meeting should clarify, and what each attendee is expected to contribute.

Time is of the essence.

It is crucial to tell participants when the meeting will start and end, and to stick to those times. Waiting around for stragglers wastes everyone’s time. If you can start without some of the attendees, ask yourself why they were invited. Don’t let the meeting run too long or you risk losing the attention of your attendees. Your meeting should never be longer than 90 minutes.

Don’t waste paper.

Limit handouts to one page and distribute longer reports in advance.

Don’t divide people’s attention.

It is difficult to absorb information at a lunch meeting. Forget about proper enjoyment of food and a few minutes of relaxation.

Demonstrate what the meeting accomplished.

After the meeting, send out meeting minutes along with a list of action items.