I love any tip to prevent or improve meetings. They are such a suck of our most valuable asset—time.
Today is simple. Before meeting with someone, ask the person to send over a few bullets on what they want to cover.
This helps make the meeting more efficient by both allowing you to get the ‘update’ part of the meeting over via email and making sure you are better prepared to discuss the meat of the meeting.
Or, better yet, it might prevent the meeting from happening at all. You might be able to help over email or realize that you can’t help.
Before accepting a meeting (or before your standing ones occur), add a bit of diligence. Ask for an agenda, the materials ahead of time and updates via bullets.