$6,000. That’s how much loose change the Daily Mail reports that an average American loses in a lifetime. It’s an astonishing amount—the equivalent of two round-trip plane tickets to Italy or a nice summer getaway for the entire family! – it’s hard to appreciate the overall amount when you’re only thinking of the dime that fell out of your pocket onto the floorboard of your car.

What happens to the average American happens to businesses every day when they don’t think ahead in terms of preparing for and running meetings. Wasted minutes add up like loose change and affect everything—deadlines, performance, productivity, and, in the long run, how your client feels about working with you.

When it comes to meetings, stay focused. Use a timeboxed approach to ensure that every item gets covered in an allotted amount of time. You don’t want meetings to wander off into tangential detours. Instead, remember:

A list of bullet points isn’t enough to keep a meeting on course. Prep work and a simplified focus are the best keys to ensuring a productive meeting in the time prescribed. When meetings are not planned or don’t achieve the objectives attended, more meetings are needed to address unfinished business—it’s a slippery slope.

Key Takeaways

  • Identify specific goals and outcomes for each meeting
  • Timebox agenda items to avoid tangents
  • Plan meetings to conclude 10 minutes ahead of schedule
  • Encourage collaboration and joint engagement during every meeting