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Meeting tableFast Company magazine recently surveyed some of the world’s most-creative people for their ideas on improving the bane of most offices – the meeting.

The report noted that the average office worker spends more than 200 hours a year in meetings, and it included the established basics for a successful meeting: Be prepared, have a leader, have an agenda, set a fixed start and end time, have a conclusion and make a plan to follow up.

But the web post looked to go beyond the mundane, coming up with 10 strategies from business leaders and gurus worldwide:

  1. Pretend you’ve failed: Imagine everything that could go wrong with a new product or service, the take steps to fix problem areas.
  2. Keep it novel: Have a meeting in somewhere new, to stimulate exploratory thinking.
  3. Pause: Take at least a moment to meditate on the way to meetings, to open your mind.
  4. Don’t squander youth: Listen to younger workers.
  5. Say it in five words: Require everyone in the meeting to distill the problem to be solved in a meeting down to five words.
  6. Think like a movie director: Replace the typical agenda and decorum with movie-like passion and conflict.
  7. Get them laughing: A little humor from the leader of a meeting warms up the room and increases the leader’s stature.
  8. Bring something to the table: Require people in meetings to be prepared to contribute, and leaders should encourage it.
  9. Be like a talk show host: Leaders should realize the length of the human attention span, and plan breaks (like commercial breaks on a talk show).
  10. Use the meeting to create more meetings: Never leave a meeting without getting the names of two new people to meet.

The Fast Company post was written by Camille Sweeney and Josh Gosfield, co-authors of The Art of Doing: How Superachievers Do What They Do and How They Do It Well.

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