Too many meetings drag on without participants discussing the real problems that need to be addressed. People talk around the important issues during the meeting and actually address them before or after it — which renders the meeting a waste of time and makes you, the meeting organizer, look bad. Combat this risk by explicitly asking that issues be discussed in the meeting, not outside of it. Be specific about the meeting’s topic, letting everyone know ahead of time what you expect their contributions to be. State the meeting’s purpose in the agenda, and reiterate it when the meeting begins, explaining that all problems should be raised in the room. While some people may resist your directness, calling out difficult issues at the start of a meeting will increase the likelihood of candid discussions rather than hallway gossip.