Leading Successful Meetings (Part 3): What’s the Point?


Every meeting needs a point—what’s the purpose, what is desired outcome? What are the action steps and decisions?

In my last two posts I’ve covered meeting time and length as well as knowing the temperament who is around the table. This post covers some basics on purpose and outcome.

Purpose. Every meeting needs an associated purpose. Without a purpose the meeting is just a scheduled social gathering. The first item on your agenda (see below) needs to be the purpose of the meeting. Leadership author Steven Covey wrote about beginning with the end in mind. The purpose needs to be clear and leave little to the imagination.

Desired outcome. How often have you found your mind wandering in a meeting because you didn’t know exactly why you were in the meeting? One way to help people stay awake is to clearly let them know  the results and desired outcome expected in the meeting. Once you determine the purpose, what is the desired outcome? Is this an information meeting? A decision-making meeting? What do you, as leader, want to accomplish as a result of this meeting? The agenda needs to reflect this so the people come prepared and ready to help you achieve the desired result.

Agenda. Yes, you need an agenda. It gives the introverts time to think before the meeting. It serves to guide the meeting along—it gives you rails to direct and lead the group Like a good conductor the agenda points the meeting toward the desired outcome.

Action Items. Forget detailed minutes because nobody reads them anyway. Your last agenda item should be labeled “Action Items” and they need to be captured. People then leave with tasks and responsibility. You also just created your first agenda item for the next meeting on this topic—Follow Up. It’s a way to make progress, hold people to group accountability and also monitor the effectiveness of what you are doing.

Meetings can be productive and successful. If you are willing to lead them with a specific purpose, desired outcome and holding your team members accountable to whatever action comes from the discussion. Teams that know where they are going and why there are going there function much better than teams that are adrift.



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Trust is the winsome wedding of faith and hope.

Brennan Manning

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