We can often find ourselves deluged with meeting after meeting. That's OK if work is getting done, but learn how to detect when meetings are wasteful .
There are many kinds of meetings, but let's group them into two general types: status meetings and work meetings. Status meetings are just that: people reporting on progress on their aspects of a project. Work meetings are when people try to get work done.
It can be a waste of everyone's time if you try to problem-solve during a status meeting. If something can't be resolved quickly, pick a time for the involved parties to work it out—don't waste everyone's time. I find it useful to have that meeting immediately after the current meeting. People not involved can leave or drop off the conference call. Everyone is already together, so there's usually no scheduling conflicts to work out.
When I email an announcement of a meeting, I indicate whether it is a work or status meeting. This makes it clear what people should expect and puts them in the right mindset. It also makes it easier for the facilitator to cut off inappropriate discussions when they arise.
As a participant, I realized that I had an influence on whether the meeting was going to be a waste of time. Being on time significantly improved the meeting's efficiency. Being prepared (reading the material being reviewed, etc.) meant I wasn't dragging the meeting down. If I was presenting material, emailing copies to everyone a day early made other people better ...