Meetings without outcomes are a waste of time, as you well know. Yet, many meetings fail to produce results because the conversation circles around the issues rather than focuses on them.

To make sure decisions happen and people take action, you need to have a productive dialogue.

According to the Harvard Business Review, here are four things every meeting should be:

  1. Open. The outcomes of your meeting should not be predetermined. Questions like, "What are we missing?" signal honest searching for alternative perspectives.
  2. Candid. Encourage people to air conflicts. When people express their real opinions, productivity increases.
  3. Informal. Keep it loose. Conversations should be unscripted with honest questions and spontaneity.
  4. Conclusive. Everyone should leave knowing exactly what they are expected to do.