Meetings can be a drag for everyone in the office, especially when they are run poorly. Yet touching base with your employees is crucial for communication and day-to-day functions. As much as you may want to wish them out of existence, meetings are not going anywhere soon. So, the next best option lies in learning some key ways to run them efficiently. This can help save time for everyone involved, time that can be spent taking care of more important work tasks. These tips will help ensure your next company meetings are on task and on time.

"As with most things in life, preparation is key."

Set a clear agenda: As with most things in life, preparation is key. Forbes contributor Kevin Kruse believes that the key to any effective meeting is having a pre-designated agenda. These itineraries should be handed out to meeting attendants beforehand in order to have time to review the talking points. Kruse suggested stating topics as questions in order to influence your staff toward making solid decisions before moving onto the next item. This document should also indicate a facilitator for the meeting whose sole responsibility will be keeping the discussion on-track and time-sensitive. When possible, state the purpose of the meeting in a prominent spot on the agenda so employees can be reminded of the end goal.

Meet regularly: Another way to ensure effective and efficient meetings lies in meeting frequency. The more you touch base with your staff, the less there will be to discuss in future meetings. Try scheduling bi-weekly meetings with different departments in order to ensure optimal communication. Your employees will appreciate the designated time to discuss any lingering issues and you will get a more steady picture of how things are working within your company.In the same vein as pre-set agendas, try to clearly state a purpose for these meetings. Inc. contributor Kristine Kern noted that its best not to mix too many subjects into one meeting. Separate the tactical topics from the strategic ones when possible, as this will allow your staffers to dedicate their complete attention to the subject at hand.

Don't beat around the bush: In a separate Forbes article, Susan Adams laid out some solid advice about effective communication. One of her major points was about being direct. This can be endlessly helpful when it comes to crafting your meetings. Adams urged leaders to hone in on the meat of their messages. What do your employees absolutely need to know? What information can be left out? Using these questions can help trim the fat off your presentations and get your employees in and out of these meetings in a timely manner.

"Ditch the office chairs and take your employees for a stroll."

Take a walk: Want to take a less conventional approach to improving your meetings? Ditch the office chairs and take your employees for a stroll. Kruse pointed to a study in The Journal of Applied Psychology that found sit-down meetings on average took 34 percent longer than their stand-up equivalents. Even more, the longer time didn't produce any better results. Famous company heads such as Mark Zuckerberg and Richard Branson are big fans of this approach. According to Kruse, Branson noted that walking meetings are not only more efficient but a great way to build relationships with staffers.

Categorize your meetings: Make sure to finish strong when it comes to company meetings. It is better to prolong a meeting than leaving people confused or in various states of disagreement, explained Kern. It is crucial that everyone leaves the meeting with a clear conclusion. Whether this involves instructions going forward or a general consensus on a client, make sure your staff knows what is expected of them. Take the time a the end of the meeting to communicate a run-down of the key points and the necessary actions.

Whatever way you run your meetings, you always want to make sure they are as efficient as possible. Whether that means the meeting runs for 30 minutes or an hour, make sure you are mindful of your employees' time. Get to the point quickly, outline what needs to covered or take a walk if needed! The style is up to you – the only constant needs to effectiveness.