Wondering when it makes sense to call a meeting? Here are some excellent reasons:
- You need to leverage multiple perspectives and varied expertise in order to understand a situation or sequence of events, identify alternatives, make a decision, uncover risks, assess consequences, etc.
- You need to quickly compare plans before everyone runs off in opposite directions as a means of clarifying priorities, communicating last minute changes, and minimizing resource conflicts
- You want everyone to have the opportunity to hear the same message, particularly when part of that message will be delivered through hard-to-predict Q&A
- It is important for everyone to hear the message at exactly the same time
- You need to build commitment to a decision or course of action through broad discussion
- You need to develop employee skill and awareness through discussion of priorities, issues, alternatives and risks
- The accomplishments of a group deserve public recognition
Time spent clarifying the purpose of a meeting is always time well-spent. In determining your purpose, it will be easier to work out the details if you think hard about the specific outcomes you desire. In general, people should leave with:
- A new understanding or perspective
- A shared goal or decision
- A specific assignment
- A new feeling of commitment, ownership or appreciation
But if you really want meetings to be effective, the first step is to acknowledge that meetings themselves are not evil. On the contrary, meetings are essential. How could they not be? If your meetings are bad, you must take responsibility for making them better.