You either hate meetings or love them (and sometimes both during the same meeting). Some of us have meetings every day, multiple times each day, whereas others have one or two a week. In my opinion, whether or not you love or hate meetings depends on two main objectives:

  1. Purpose of Meeting
  2. Takeaways

Have you ever been in a meeting where had no clue why you are there? Have you ever attended a meeting in which you did not know the ground rules or understanding of what needs to be accomplished during the meeting? Have you ever been in a meeting in which you had all of these great ideas mapped out, but you realized no one was assigned any tasks or takeaways after the meeting was finished? Then a week later, you speak with the other meeting attendees and cannot remember what the tasks were and who was assigned to them (perhaps no one was assigned to certain tasks, but you all thought the tasks were being taken care of). Have you ever experienced any of these scenarios? I know I have multiple times.

Question: How do you try to prevent these issues? My suggestions are below:

Always try to make sure you clearly state the purpose of the meeting. My suggestion is to have an agenda (especially if the meeting duration is one hour or more). Regardless, walk through the stated purpose of the meeting and what are you going to accomplish. Discuss if everyone in attendance can stay for the entire duration of the meeting. Please make sure all attendees understand why they are there and what the group hopes to accomplish by the end of the meeting.

Next, make sure you set aside time to discuss ‘takeaways’. What I mean by ‘takeaways’ is clearly state the task with a quick description, who is assigned to each task, and when the tasks are due. I have found all of this information is necessary so when the meeting adjourns, everyone can work together and understand what needs to be accomplished. This prevents team members from ‘finger pointing’, since everyone understands assigned takeaways with clear due dates.

The two objectives I state above (Purpose and Takeaways) are so simple, but we tend to forget them all the time. I challenge you to try both in future meetings and evaluate your results. Other suggestions for successful meetings are welcomed. What do you do to facilitate the success of your meetings?

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