If you conduct a number of meetings a week and they seem to get longer and longer, and accomplish less and less, here are some guidelines on how you can hold a meeting that is more productive and positive. We have all attended meetings that seem to go on and on and on… but it is only if you let them! The concepts of handling meetings professionally are sometimes subtle and often challenging. Gone are the days of Henry Ford who insisted that he be the only one seated at his staff meetings leaving everyone else standing – guaranteeing to keep his meetings short and to the point. Now, we are bombarded with meeting after meeting - department and sales meetings, board meetings, team meetings - the list is endless. Meetings have become the bane of existence of many individuals business life. Not only do they swallow up valuable time and energy but are very expensive. On average, executives are spending 50 - 80% of their time in meetings. As the leader, it is critical that you be seen as such. Here is some advice on how to master meetings and project superior professionalism. * BEING PREPARED goes without saying. If it is important enough to say its important then it is important enough to plan. * ADD STATURE to your meeting by holding it in the most impressive, appropriately appointed conference room. (I attended a business meeting with several other consultants in a very noisy bar & grill - totally inappropriate to conducting any kind of business. We were seated at a very long table in the center of the room. We could not hear each other and the person leader was ineffective. It was a waste of time).YOU AS THE CONDUCTOR * BE A GRACIOUS HOST - use the space you have chosen as if you were entertaining guests in your living room. * THE ROOM SHOULD BE NEAT AT A PIN - No food or used coffee cups, papers, or debris of any kind. * EQUIPMENT should be in excellent working order, old flip charts removed and chalkboards cleaned. * PROVIDE AN AGENDA. Keep it simple and to the point and stick to the script. If you need to run late, reach consensus as to the time allotment. * NEVER RECAP INFORMATION FOR LATE COMERS. Let them catch up later - you do not want to re enforce lateness. * RE ENFORCE YOUR POSITION & AUTHORITY by standing up to make an especially important point. * REMAIN COMPOSED AND DO NOT RUSH but keep the meeting upbeat and moving. * DOT YOUR SPEECH WITH THE “PREGNANT PAUSE” - It is a great attention getter. * DO NOT ACCEPT TELEPHONE CALLS EVER during a meeting. Make sure all cell phones are turned off before starting the meeting. * BE OBSERVANT AND ALERT to your audience. Ask many questions, repeat participant’s questions clearly; watch their body language if there seems to be confusion, clear it up before moving on.A leader who is open, receptive and a good listener conduct a great meeting. If you smile, nod, have open body language and do not fidget, you will look like a professional. These are only a few tips for managing meetings like a pro. Remember: Wield the baton with a firm hand! Please see attached bio.