When we meet, we talk.
While that’s a simple description of what happens during a meeting, it should never be the meeting’s purpose. We don’t meet to talk. We meet to make something happen.
Meetings should be about action, and if yours are not; it’s time to do something about it.
The most effective thing you can do is give your meeting an action-oriented purpose. Here’s how.
Take the typical weekly staff meeting. Everyone comes together and shares updates. So what’s the purpose? The manager who called the meeting would probably say, “Make sure everyone is updated on all the important things going on within the department or organization.”
While this might have some value, it isn’t very action-oriented. It implies the meeting will be about reporting information to each other. It doesn’t say anything about how that information will be used.
The next time you plan one of these staff meetings, consider revising your purpose. “The meeting’s goal is to re-prioritize departmental activities for the coming week.” This purpose suggests that people will be doing something different based on the meeting’s outcome.
Here’s another example. Let’s suppose you pull together a project team to prepare for an upcoming trade show. Your first attempt at a purpose statement is, “Discuss the upcoming trade-show in New York.” Sounds like talking. You can do better.
Try this one instead, “Develop a work plan for the New York trade-show.” Making a work plan is doing something. It’s an action.
To get action, plan for action
The best way to ensure action is to be specific about the type of action you want. Once you know what it is, make that the meeting purpose and communicate it to all your attendees.