In these days of back-to-back zoom meetings, we must take the time to be really clear about our meeting purpose before we decide to host a meeting. Can it be an email or a short recorded video? Or do we need to have a discussion about something that can only happen in a meeting format? Although meetings are essential in coalition work, we must be careful that we don’t let the “shoulds” start to get us. Some of the most common “shoulds” I see related to meetings are: We “should” meet because we always meet on Tuesday mornings at 10 am or we “should” meet because one or two people really want us to meet. You can fill in your “should” blank here _________. 🙂 However, if we want to host effective meetings, we must pause and ask three important questions to guide our meeting purpose.
Why are we meeting?
We need to get a clear sense of why we are meeting and what we want to accomplish during the meeting before we schedule the meeting. When we are really clear on why we are meeting, it helps our participants know what to expect and to stay more engaged. When we are clear about why we are meeting, we build trust and create a culture of meaningful meetings.
Do we need to meet in order to accomplish this purpose?
Once you get clear on your meeting purpose or what you would like to accomplish, then you can decide if a meeting is the best option. For some situations, the answer is an easy “yes” while for other situations, you can probably take care of your purpose through an email, a chat message or a video recording. One of my favorite new approaches to use in training is to open a new zoom meeting, hit record, share my screen and provide step-by-step guidance on how to utilize a tool or a resource. Previously, I would try to find time to meet with someone for 15-30 minutes to show them how to do it and then they may still have questions. This approach allows me to record a 2-3 minute video and then they can view it as many times as needed to understand how to do something. When you are clear about your purpose, check in with yourself and your team one more time to see if it needs to be a meeting or if the purpose can be accomplished in another way.
Who else needs to be included to clarify the meeting purpose?
One of the best ways to get clear on your meeting purpose is to include some key coalition leaders in the planning discussions. Although this may require one more small group meeting, it will provide incredible support, insight and perspective that will help you lead a more effective meeting.
So what about you? What are you going to do this week to identify and clarify the purpose of your next meeting?