How can you make meetings more productive? Office meetings are far too often: too long, too boring and too unproductive. How unproductive? One study suggests that in the U.S., $37 billion is lost annually due to unproductive meetings.

Almost as bad as unproductive office meetings are the clichéd stock photographs that attempt to make meetings look productive. So clichéd have such office meeting stock photos become that the world’s biggest purveyor of such photos has agreed to make fun of its photos by teaming up with marketers promoting the Vince Vaughn film called Unfinished Business.

They are featuring a set of free stock photography, much of which mocks office meeting stock photos that was created by photoshopping the heads of actors from the film onto the bodies of existing stock photos.

We thought the idea so inspiring, we decided to re-issue this article with the Unfinished Business stock photos so that during your next unproductive meeting, you’ll at least have something to think about and smile.

1. Decide if you really need a meeting.


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If it’s a problem you can solve with a simple one-on-one conversation, do that instead.

2. Have an agenda and KISS—keep it short, simple.


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A short agenda helps you focus more efficiently on the topics.

3. Be prepared.


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Pretend you and your team are Boy Scouts and be prepared–with data, spreadsheets, any necessary facts and figures. This preparation will keep the meeting moving briskly and make it more productive.

4. Know what you want to accomplish.


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Business guru Steven Covey famously advises “Begin with the end in mind.” Making your objectives clear will help focus discussion and minimize distractions.

5. Have a time limit.


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Set a time limit on the meeting and keep your eye on the clock. Head off lengthy digressions by reminding folks to stick to the agenda and tabling off-topic conversations.

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