CONSULTANT CHUCK MCPHERSON believes that he has the cure for the common meeting: Make it SLURPY.

It's an acronym that McPherson, president and chief executive officer of Interactive Meeting Solution, Santa Rosa, Calif., came up with to illustrate ways that planners can make meetings more exciting. But the word also captures the essence of what a meeting should be, he says. “Something that is slurpy is something that goes down fast and is delicious — which would be the definition of a fun and pleasurable meeting.”

A survey of 1,216 corporate employees conducted by Opinion Research and commissioned by IMS revealed how few meetings meet this description. A third of the respondents said the meetings they attend are a “complete waste of time;” while 31 percent described them as “pretty boring.” Meetings are run poorly, too: 36 said no important decisions are made at their company meetings.

McPherson offers five ideas for making meetings more fun and effective (aka SLURPY):

S — SCRIPTED: Organizers need to spend at least as much time scripting the meeting or session as they do in the actual meeting. That means articulating desired objectives, knowing what questions need to be asked and answered, and planning ways to make it more interactive and participatory.

L — LIVELY: With the average attention span being about 30 minutes, meetings need to be interactive. Planners should identify activities and tools to get people involved in the discussion.

U — UN-EGOTISTICAL: “Meetings are vastly more pleasurable when everyone is working as a team,” says MacPherson.

R — RESULTS-DIRECTED: Meeting discussions should result in an action plan.

P — PRAISE ATTENDEES: If a meeting leader wants participants to leave with a good feeling, why not take the time to praise them for their contributions?

For information on IMS Trackmeet, a software McPherson has developed to make meetings more SLURPY, go to www.imstrackmeet.com.