Time, in the estimation of some observers, seldom goes slower than it does during a typical business meeting. It just seems that way, of course, because there are so many meetings.

Well, these subjective but perceptive observers got some fresh ammunition this week from a new study that claims executives are spending more and more time in meetings - and, as a result, are wasting more and more money.The study by Harrison Conference Services and Hofstra University maintains that executives spend between 25 percent and 70 percent of their day in meetings . . . such meetings consume more time than they did five years ago . . . a third of the meetings are unproductive . . . and the wasted time costs $37 billion a year.

But has there really been an increase in business meetings? Or is it just an increase in the use of that familiar response to unwelcome telephone calls and visitors: "Sorry, the boss is in a meeting."

Sure he is.

Those who conducted the survey of business meetings ought to think about taking their study back to the drawing board. But then they can't even consider such a step without holding more and more meetings.