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Americans sit through some 11 million meetings every day — with the unproductive ones costing companies $37 billion a year.

We’ve already learned that meetings fall apart thanks to sloppy agendas, un-articulated ground rules, and other structural mistakes.

So we decided to look at how some of the most effective executives in history — from GM czar Alfred Sloan to Apple prince Steve Jobs to Facebook queen Sheryl Sandberg — run the meetings that invariably fill their calendars.

Here’s what we found.

Contact us at editors@time.com.

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