If you’re like most business professionals, your day is likely filled with meetings. Meetings can be a great way to gather your team and make important business decisions. On the contrary, they can also be a total waste of time. In fact, they are typically the latter.

As a manager or business executive you need to be strategic about how and when you call meetings. When you decide to host one, it’s important that you make it count. That said, take note of these four keys to host successful meetings.

Ask Yourself If It’s Necessary

Before calling a meeting you should always ask yourself first, “is this meeting really necessary?” In other words, you need to be able to justify it. It may seem silly talking to yourself but if you can’t articulate the need for having the meeting, it’s probably a sign that you should hold off.

Only Invite Key Players

It’s common to over invite others to business meetings. We often think it’s better to over invite then to leave someone off the list. First and foremost, you’re hosting a corporate meeting. This isn’t a dinner party. Every single person in attendance needs to provide value.

In addition, the more people you have in the meeting room the less responsibility each of them has. As items are discussed people will feel less inclined to speak up as they assume it will get covered by the other attendees. You need to invite key players, not spectators.

Use Smart Scheduling Technology

This is something that is rarely used when scheduling meetings. Most business executives have their personal assistants handle their scheduling. Which is great. However, if you don’t have an assistant you rely on synchronizing everyone’s schedule manually.

More often than not, the time that is finally chosen is not optimal for the majority of attendees. However, since you’re the boss others will have to shift their schedules around your meeting time. This is just not an efficient way to run your business.

I recommend using smart technology like calendar that allows you to synchronize scheduling for your entire team. With this platform, you’ll be able to always find the most optimal time to host the meeting. If there are any conflicts, meetings will automatically be rescheduled for everyone in attendance. Seamless and efficient.

Always Finish With Action Items

Talk is cheap. At the end of every single meeting you need to finish with action items for every attendee. At this time, you’ll really know if you’ve invited the right people.  This goes back to the point above about inviting key players. If a team member doesn’t come out of the meeting with an action item, you may want to consider leaving them out of the next meeting.

Once you’ve assigned action items to each of the team members, you should set expectations on when they should be completed. To keep things organized, you should also follow up in an email with each action item and who’s responsible. That way you leave little room for confusion.

Meetings can be just as productive as they can be a complete waste of time. If you want to host more successful meetings make sure you follow the four rules listed above.