In meetings and communication, know what your meeting is about.
There are basically 3 types of meetings: Informational, Problem-solving and Idea-generating.
You might say, "Well, my meeting is about Safety Regulations". OK, but is it Safety Regulations Informational? Safety Regulations Problem-Solving? Safety Regulations Idea-Generating?
If you have all three under the same meeting, write your Agenda as: 5 minutes Information, 10 min. Problem-Solving and 15 minutes Idea-Generating, or whatever -- that's why preparation is necessary, these things must be determined ahead of time.
All meetings must be short -- in and out in 30 minutes! Some meetings will need 1 hour, of course, but this should only be when absolutely necessary and fewer and farther apart. A rule of thumb is the longer the meetings, the fewer they are; i.e. weekly meetings: 30 minutes or less. Montly or quarterly meetings could go to 1 hour or 2. Semi-annual, 2-3 hours or ½-day. Yearly meetings, such as conventions, 1 day.
They should be well planned ahead to get to the point fast and to stimulate discussion. The discussions must be well defined, i.e.: "For the next 15 minutes, we will talk about the current annual Sales Goals." "Now for the next 15 minutes, we will discuss the Salary Structure."
List them on the agenda so the people can follow clearly. Lead to get the results you plan or expect and to stay within the time frames allotted, if you cannot achieve this on any one item, move it to another meeting. Be in control!
Meetings are terrific opportunities to get communication flowing among the people. Bring some donuts, be positive, get to the point. Move fast. Let them leave the meeting fired up -- not dragged down. All the while, you are training others to do the same!
Failure to control meetings is a demonstration of mismanagement on the part of the individual doing the meeting and the whole corporation behind him or her.