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Effective meetings: The purpose

We have spent the last 15 weeks on facilitation and are transitioning for the next four weeks to “effective meetings”. Facilitation and effective meetings are very linked. As a matter of fact, in order to have an effective meeting, you must have effective facilitation. However, facilitation alone will not make your meeting effective. This week we are highlighting the first consideration for an effective meeting. What is your purpose for meeting?  Although this seems simple and perhaps obvious, it’s really important to articulate the purpose of each meeting if you want to continue to engage volunteers in your coalition or partnership. Join me this week as I provide three recommendations on how to determine the purpose for your next meeting.

  1. Ask the question. First, ask the staff who are hosting the meeting about the intended purpose for the meeting. You want to ask your colleagues and yourself the purpose for the meeting. You may also want to ask your coalition members and partners what they would like to see accomplished during the next meeting. I’ve been leading meetings for more than 20 years and I still need others to ask me the question, “Why are we meeting?”  As a leader, it is important to be humble and open to others assessing the meeting purpose in order to lead effective meetings.
  2. Listen to the answer. Listen closely to your staff and members.  Listen closely to yourself! If you are not able to clearly articulate the intended purpose for the meeting, you may want to consider postponing or waiting to schedule the next meeting. Since meetings are an enormous investment of time for everyone participating, it’s extremely important to be clear about the purpose of your next meeting so that participants know that the meeting will be a good use of their time. None of us have time to “meet just to meet.”
  3. Develop and share the agenda. Once you have clearly defined the purpose, develop that into an agenda and share it prior to the meeting. By developing and sharing a meeting agenda, it will help participants know if the meeting is right for them to attend.  This will also help participants know if this is not the right meeting for them to attend. This also helps set expectations for participants and gives them an opportunity to consider how they want to contribute their time and resources during the meeting. If they know the meeting topic will include something relevant to them, they may want to bring information to the meeting to share with the rest of the group.

So what about you? What has worked for you in determining your meeting purpose?

If you missed the Facebook live video on this blog, check it out here!

Photo by Nik MacMillan on Unsplash

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