Need a last minute Halloween costume? How about going as a victim of a productivity-sapping, opportunity-killer of a meeting. All you need is a glassy-eyed stare. Or perhaps the panicked look of someone who desperately needs to make up for wasted time and actually get something accomplished.

“Today’s firm administrators, staff, and accountants spend so much time attending meetings, but few know how to plan and run them,” says CPE Link instructor (and productivity maven) Laura Stack. “Most meetings frustrate employees because agendas aren’t distributed, objectives aren’t defined, time runs over, and no decisions are made.”

Sound familiar? An estimated 25 million meetings take place every working day in the United States alone. So you’ve probably been a victim many times — and maybe even a perpetrator. You can mend your ways, says Stack. Here’s one of her tips: “Meetings should only be used for issues requiring dialogue, decisions, or team building, not merely for informational issues.” For meetings that are absolutely necessary, Stack advises establishing a code of conduct for your department or organization.

If you were writing the meeting code for your firm, what would you include?

Then you can be the happy Ghost of Meetings Future for next Halloween.

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