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Do I have a clear purpose?

Although we may have a clear format (Zoom) and activities (Agenda items) for our online meetings, we may not necessarily have a clear purpose.  This is especially true if it is a standing meeting. If you are finding yourself especially weary from back-to-back online meetings and wondering if you really need to attend all of the meetings, now is a great time to pause and consider the purpose. The purpose is important whether you are leading the meeting or attending the meeting. Since we all have limited time and want to make the most out of our time with others, let’s pause to consider the first of our 10 Tips for Facilitating Online Meetings – our purpose. Join me this week as I highlight three questions to consider as you figure out your online meeting purpose.

What is the need?

What can you do through a meeting that you cannot do through email or other online communications?  For instance, you may have new and old coalition members, confusion about roles, competition among organizations, new funding, a grant opportunity or a proposed policy. All of these situations are types of “needs” that you may have as a coalition. You may also be experiencing a lot of duplication of effort or lack of knowledge of what other organizations are working on right now. Take time to think about the need you have that could be fulfilled through a meeting. This will help you develop your purpose and clarify who needs to participate in your meeting.

What do you want to accomplish?

As Stephen Covey reminds us, Begin with the End in MindⓇ. As you develop your meeting purpose, think about what you want to accomplish or your desired outcome of the meeting. Do you want your members to trust one another more? Would you like to increase coordination of efforts? Are you developing a plan? Would you like to prioritize which strategy to choose first? Spend time considering what you would like at the end of the meeting and this will help you clarify your purpose for your meeting. 

How can you be specific?

When planning a meeting, we can easily become overloaded with several purposes in one meeting. When we have too many purposes in one meeting, we overwhelm ourselves and our attendees. If we can get specific, we are able to know who needs to attend (and who doesn’t need to attend). When we are specific about our purpose, we know how long we need to meet, the best format for meeting and which activities will be needed to accomplish our purpose (presentations, discussion, questions, polls, etc.). I am participating in Priya Parker’s Art of Gathering online course right now and she provides some excellent guidance on purpose, what questions to consider and the importance of being specific. If you would like to explore her work further, she also wrote a book, The Art of Gathering.  

So what about you? What are you going to do this week to clarify your next meeting purpose?

As you plan your next online meeting, check out my free resource, How to Lead Your Best Online Meeting Yet

Photo by Jamie Street on Unsplash

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