Given my line of work, I am in a lot of meetings. It might just be that meetings are the thing of the century to hate and want to dispense with. I disagree.

At least I partly disagree. I love meetings! I like meeting people, because talking to talented and smart people always makes me gain insights that I couldn’t do by myself.

But then there are the really bad meetings. You know those who drag out on end, where you just rehash a topic, never move on and never conclude anything useful. There is one, very simple, technique which will solve that for you forever. An agenda.

If you have an agenda for your meetings all attendees know in advance what will be covered and most crucially, what is expected of them. Attendees can make suitable preparation to discuss something, resulting in proper and informed discussions.

Better yet, an agenda should come with timing notes. How long you are allowed to spend on each subject. Keep to them religiously. If you need more time, schedule something new for it. Keeping to them respects people’s time and forces you to be brief, informed and effective, while still not rushing. The goal is to be effective, not careless and rushed.

I’m on a mission this year to make sure that no meeting I attend by the end of the year doesn’t have an agenda. There is no reason why I don’t know up front before a meeting exactly what is expected of me. If I can’t prepare and make an informed contribution, you are wasting everyone’s time.

Let’s make 2016 the year where all meetings have agendas. Finally.