No matter what your profession, meetings are a fundamental part of work and making sure they are productive is extremely important. Mike Richardson, the president of Sherpa Alliance, created the following tips on how to develop agile meetings, many of which I plan on trying myself. Not in a position to host a meeting? Impress your colleagues and suggest some of the following to your teammates at your next meeting.

Map your meeting: Create a standing agenda and a master spreadsheet with tabs relevant to each agenda item with the expected inputs, throughputs and outputs. That way, the meetings are easy for the chairman to run because everything is crystal clear.

Set the mood: Set the tone for the energy level by playing a video or music. You can tell a story, read a quotation, or be unpredictable and create a surprise factor.

Spark creativity: Frame the purpose of the meeting as a question: How do we best …? Questions get the human brain thinking more quickly.

Document the action live: Instead of taking notes, editing them and distributing them afterward, save time by capturing everything electronically in real time. You can project action items for all to see during the meeting and keep them in a master spreadsheet hosted on your server for easy access by all.

Time-box everything: Meetings should last 45 minutes, from 5 after the hour to 10 minutes to the hour. Allot time for each agenda item and especially for presentations.

Leverage the wall-space: Wall space is one of the most underutilized assets in your business. Have the standing agenda on the wall, creative problem-solving frameworks, your core values, key elements of your strategic plan, inspirational quotations, etc., all in a format large enough for you to refer to during the meeting.

Generate input: Have everyone take a minute to write down an idea relevant to the agenda item. Go around the table and allow each person to share his or her idea, or break into pairs or triads to discuss the ideas and report back.

Once the options are on the table, facilitate the group toward fast decisions with statements and questions like: “I’m leaning toward this …”; “Does anyone have a violent objection to that … ?”; “Can everyone get behind that?”; and then move them into fast action: “How would we best do that?”

How do you make sure you don’t waste time during meetings?