A few years back, my niece visited my office and after spending the whole day with me, she was asked by her mother: "What does Uwe do all day?"

Her answer: "He's in meetings."

That's a sad reality for the majority of us.

Boring Meetings. Useless meetings. Sloppy meetings. If the US army would be as sloppily run as our meetings, there wouldn't be the United States of America. If my kid would be as poorly prepared for her school life as most meetings are, she'd drop out of school in 7th grade.

Meetings are important.

They are the wheel that set things in motion.

Unfortunately, that wheel doesn't work 95% of the time.

"Read this before our next meeting."

It's the title of a book by Al Pittampalli, published by The Domino Project and the content will change your life.

Al Pittampalli describes the usual MS Office appointments as 'weapons of mass interruption' and explains that it's far too easy for people to call team meetings without any real preparation and empathy for the impact another bad meeting might have on all recipients.

In addition, he describes the majority of meetings as stalling tactics and havens for complacency or collective indecision.

How to combat 'Death by meetings'

- Only invite people to meetings who NEED to be there, not people who SHOULD be there.

- Circulate reading materials way ahead of the meeting, insisting that everybody actually read the material. If not, ask them to leave the meeting. Should have used their own time get informed, meetings are about decisions, not information.

- All meetings have to have a clear purpose, clear objective(s) and end on time.

- Meet only to support a decision that has already been made.

- Produce committed action plans.

Summer is over. Time to be productive again.

Don't waste another hour with useless meetings.

Buy the book to get more in-depth insights. It took me 30 minutes to read it. But it will save me a lot of time and energy in the years to come.

Oh, and please, don't invite me to any meetings.

Uwe Hook is the CEO and Co-Founder of BatesHook, Inc. (www.bateshook.com) and a veteran of the advertising and marketing industry with the goal of building connections between people and brands. Uwe can be reached at uwe@bateshook.com.

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