There is a lot to be said about meetings. Usually something like “too long”, “too boring”, “so not to the point”… I know a lot of examples when a meeting is rather an exposure of the chairman (or some other member of the meeting) than a place where goals are set. I bet you know these kinds of meetings as well.
I could give you some of the rules for a good and proper meeting, but I think you know them too. There are plenty of examples to be found on the internet. Since meetings are usually categorized – at least for me – as non-value added, the best way to run them is effectively and efficiently.
These rules are pretty basic; so basic that it is hard to remember them when in a meeting. So try to incorporate one or two steps at the time. Remember: kaizen is about small but continuous improvements.
My suggestion for the first two steps:
1. Start on time, end on time. Don’t mind latecomers, unless they have a very good reason (stuck in unexpected traffic jam or a situation at home might be one of the good reasons). Do not repeat the already discussed items. If participants are late for one reason or another, update them after the meeting.
2. Stick to your schedule. You have distributed an agenda for a certain reason. It contains items that apparently need to be discussed. A cheap and simple cooking timer might come in very handy.
Try to do this for some time, both as participant and as chair(wo)man. Get used to these time-based meetings, before you move on to the next steps.
Practice these steps vigorously. Evaluate not only the meeting outcome, but also the way of running it. It might seem simple, but it is all about un-learning habits and replace them with new ones. And that is difficult enough in itself.