Having Meetings with a Purpose

Posted by Leisa Redmon | July 21, 2020

It doesn't matter what kind of work you're in or what kind of business you own – meetings are unavoidable. And, truth be told, that's not necessarily a bad thing because oftentimes meetings are critical as a means to stay connected to your team, to be productive, and to continuously move the needle forward.

But within the same vein of truth, at the end of the day meetings can also be an absolute drain on time and morale. We’ve all probably had, or heard, horror stories of meetings that have gone wrong, are a waste of time, or even have too many people in them that shouldn't be there. 

So, instead of prolonging the horror for your people and your culture, let’s explore a few best practices around how to run purposeful and effective meetings.

Is it necessary?

The very first thing you should do is evaluate whether a meeting is necessary in the first place. So, before you fire off that email to ten people on your team, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is the need actually worthy of a meeting? 
  • Could this need be accomplished by a quick email?
  • Could this need be accomplished with a five-minute phone call with one person, versus an hour long meeting with a group of people? 

And so, to that point, the very first thing to ensure whether or not a meeting has purpose is to uncover if the meeting is even necessary in the first place. 

Getting into a habit of asking yourself these types of questions, prior to initiating the potential meeting, will be of huge benefit to your employees as well as your business operations.

Does this need to be in person?

Does-this-need-to-be-in-person

Determining whether or not the meeting needs to be in person is a very practical question everyone should be asking. For instance, if you have a meeting established with people traveling from all over, it might be more efficient to run the meeting online with services such as Zoom

Even if individuals are willing to drive to meet for a face-to-face meeting, presenting the option for less commuting and more efficiency is a strong case to make for your company.

Now, for some meetings, being face-to-face is unavoidable. However, even with that being said, it's a good practice after first asking yourself if the meeting is necessary, to then ask if this kind of meeting would be more efficient online.

Do you have an agenda?

Having and dispersing an agenda might feel granular and even time-consuming, but having meetings with purpose means taking a few minutes on the front end to define a successful meeting ahead of time. 

Providing agenda items, even in a rough format, gives whoever you're including in the meeting a very clear vision from the beginning on why this meeting is occurring.

Another reason behind providing attendees an agenda is to identify the essentials. 

A meeting should usually be centered around discussing, and deciding on, decisions – not informing people of facts and superfluous information. 

By ensuring your meetings are focused around critical matters and not secondary issues, you’re creating a sense of purpose for your team while also setting them up for success. 

Who’s essential? Who’s not?

Only include people who are essential contributors to the meeting. 

More often than not, most meetings attended include people who are just sitting around the edges – existing, but not contributing. But, here’s the key – it’s not their fault. 

Many individuals are forced to come to these meetings because the meeting host didn’t think critically as to who the essential contributors were in respect to the objectives needing to be accomplished. Instead of requiring attendees to come to a meeting they can’t contribute to, make sure the people within the meeting are essential to accomplishing what your business needs done.

Follow-up

Having a purposeful meeting doesn’t stop when the meeting ends. 

It’s critical to close the loop by establishing next steps and action items after the meeting. By building in a post-meeting follow-up, you are creating tangible steps to move your business forward. Even if the meeting involved a lot of talking and no decisions, having a follow-up means no one is wondering how everyone is going to go from point A to point B. 

Meetings, as essential as they are, can often be an absolute drain on time, resources and morale. However, by taking a critical eye to the needs of your meetings and evaluating the contributions of each employee, you’ll find yourself initiating more purposeful meetings in no time. 

Visit our blog to learn more ways to improve upon your company culture while also keeping your team engaged and productive.

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