Do You Need This Meeting?


Every meeting has to have clear purpose, objectives/desired outcomes, and most valuable players who can contribute to certain objectives. Don’t schedule a meeting unless you understand its purpose. Where appropriate, make a choice to solve problems using alternative methods, i.e. email, text, personal phone call, etc. Ineffective and disorganized meetings will not bring value to your team or customers. On the contrary, you, as an organizer, will waste others’ time, add stress to their day, or even lose credibility over time.

Part One: Clearly Define the Purpose, the Reason, and the Desired Outcomes

Step 1. Describe the need, challenge or success you want to celebrate.

Examples:

  • Team had a lot of conflicts lately, and there is a need to bring everyone together

  • Team has been outperforming and requires recognition

  • Project team hasn’t been introduced to each other

  • Project plan hasn’t been announced/reviewed

  • Customer is unaware of the progress of the project

  • There is a need to create innovative solution to improve process/product

  • Project has been completed and there is a need to review the outcomes

  • Celebrate a special occasion

  • There is a need to review progress of the initiative that involves cross-functional teams

  • There is a need to communicate a vision, goals, strategy

Step 2. Ask yourself three questions before deciding if a meeting is needed:

  1. Is input from others required?

  2. Is real time conversation needed to make progress or to resolve a challenge?

  3. Is the meeting going to be the only way to resolve a challenge or communicate a message?

If you answered NO to any of these questions, STOP HERE. A meeting is unnecessary. If YES, move to Step 3.

Step 3. Write down at least three potential ways to address the challenge or celebration. Then, select the best option.

An example of challenge: A customer is unaware of the progress of the project and needs to be brought up to speed.

Possible Actions:

  • First, schedule a face to face, web, video, or phone meeting with the core internal team to decide on key points and responsibilities of what and how to communicate to the customer. Once a clear plan is in place, and the key accountable players have been identified, schedule a meeting with the customer.

  • Ask the project manager to email you the status of the project, and follow up with the questions either by phone or email. Then, set up a meeting with the core team to agree on the agenda, responsibilities, and the next steps. Set up a call with the core team and the customer.

  • Ask the project manager to inform the core team by email of an upcoming call with the customer. The email will clearly outline the purpose and agenda for the call. Ask for any input by email or through a project portal. Following that, set up a call with the customer and the project manager. Send a recap or a recorded meeting to the team.

Part Two: Plan Your Meeting

Step 4: List a core team that can resolve a challenge and help with celebration.

  • Unless it is a Town Hall meeting or an All Hands call that requires everyone’s attention, only invite those who will contribute to the progress

  • Write down specific responsibilities or topic each person needs to address

Step 5: Create an agenda and include the following:

  • Topic

  • Time

  • Location