I was never too much of a fan of meetings, but I often found myself part of long ones. Some were my fault, I have to say, because I like a good story and we got lost in funny or interesting things
MavenHut changed all this, though. Cristi, one of my co-founder, forced on us (yeah, he really did force it :D ) the time box meetings concept.
What this means is that you set a specific period of time for that meeting and NO MATTER WHAT, when the countdown stops, the meetings stops. If people didn’t say what they had to, well, tough luck.
All of it might seem rough, but what I saw is that, in time, peer pressure started to act: people will force themselves and force the other ones to fit in time and that, in turn, will make people focus on what they want to say and what they want to find out. This will increase the productivity of the team and your own productivity.
So, if I could give you a great tip for any kind of business meeting: try to time box it. Obviously, you can’t do it all the time (good luck time boxing an investor meeting). This doesn’t mean, though, that you shouldn’t try.