What Is the Purpose of the Meeting?

What Is the Purpose of the Meeting?

There’s a saying in the business world that “meetings are where minutes are kept and hours are lost.” But when done correctly, meetings can be one of the most productive aspects of an organization. So, in your meeting minutes, what are you supposed to write under the purpose of the meeting? That’s where you write your meeting purpose statement.

According to statistics by McKinsey, effective meetings are all about purpose, and 61 percent of executives said that at least half the time they spent making decisions—much of it surely spent in meetings—was ineffective. 

When it comes to running successful meetings, creating a purpose statement is crucial. This statement acts as the foundation for fruitful discussions and decision-making. Clearly stating the meeting’s goal not only helps participants stay on track but also makes communication smoother, ensuring important goals are achieved. Learn how to craft a strong purpose statement for your meetings to enhance focus and make your gatherings more effective.

Before we jump into the reasons to have a meeting, it’s important to understand the underlying significance of meetings.

  • Communication Channel: Meetings provide a platform for members to communicate, exchange information, and establish a shared understanding. A study by MIT found that face-to-face communication is significantly more effective than other forms of communication.
  • Decision-Making: In his renowned book, “High Output Management”, Andrew S. Grove emphasizes the importance of meetings as a medium for decision-making. It’s where diverse perspectives come together to form a holistic view.
  • Building Relationships: Meetings help in building interpersonal relationships. They enable team members to connect, understand each other’s perspectives, and work harmoniously.

So, what should drive you to call for a meeting? Here are some fundamental reasons:

  1. Information Sharing: To disseminate information to a group or to get input from several members.
  2. Problem Solving: When there’s a challenge that requires collective brainstorming.
  3. Planning: Mapping out future actions and strategies.
  4. Reviewing: Going over past actions to determine their outcomes.
  5. Team Building: Strengthening team dynamics and interpersonal relationships.

However, calling a meeting for any of the above reasons without a clear agenda is a recipe for inefficiency.

A clear agenda is the backbone of a successful meeting. Here are some steps to craft one:

  • Define the Objective: Every meeting must have a clear and defined objective. Ask yourself, “What should be different after this meeting?”
  • List Topics to Be Covered: Use bullet points to outline what needs to be discussed.
  • Allocate Time for Each Topic: This ensures you cover everything without overrunning.
  • Designate a Moderator: Someone who keeps the meeting on track.
  • Send the Agenda in Advance: This gives attendees the chance to prepare. A Harvard Business Review article emphasized the importance of sending the agenda ahead of time to increase meeting productivity.

How to Write a Meeting Purpose Statement

Writing a perfect meeting purpose statement involves several key steps to ensure clarity and effectiveness. Here are some tips to help you craft a purpose statement that sets the tone for a successful meeting:

  1. Be Clear and Specific: Clearly define the objective of the meeting. Avoid vague language and ensure that everyone understands the purpose from the statement alone.
  2. Focus on Action: Use action-oriented language to convey what needs to be accomplished during the meeting. This helps keep participants engaged and motivated.
  3. Keep it Concise: A purpose statement should be brief and to the point. Avoid including unnecessary details that could confuse the main goal of the meeting.
  4. Align with Goals: Ensure that the purpose statement aligns with the overall goals and objectives of the organization. This helps maintain consistency and relevance.
  5. Consider the Audience: Tailor the language of the purpose statement to the audience attending the meeting. Make sure it resonates with their interests and responsibilities.
  6. Review and Refine: Take the time to review and refine the purpose statement before the meeting. This ensures that it accurately reflects the intended focus of the discussion.
  7. Seek Feedback: If possible, get feedback from key stakeholders on the purpose statement. This can help ensure that everyone is on the same page and committed to the meeting’s objectives.

By following these guidelines, you can write a purpose statement that sets a clear direction for your meeting and maximizes its effectiveness.

Meeting Purpose Statement Examples

Project Kickoff Meeting:

Purpose Statement: “The aim of this project kickoff meeting is to introduce team members, outline project goals, assign roles and responsibilities, set a timeline, and make sure everyone understands the project’s scope and goals.”

Monthly Sales Review Meeting:

Purpose Statement: “The objective of this monthly sales review meeting is to analyze sales performance from the previous month, highlight achievements and challenges, discuss strategies to boost sales, and agree on actions to increase revenue in the upcoming month.”

Quarterly Business Planning Meeting:

Purpose Statement: “The goal of this quarterly business planning meeting is to review progress towards our strategic goals, evaluate market trends and competition, identify growth opportunities, prioritize initiatives for the next quarter, and ensure alignment across departments to advance the company’s strategic vision.”

These purpose statements are customized to each meeting’s specific goals and areas of focus, offering a clear roadmap for participants and fostering a productive and results-oriented discussion.

To extract maximum value from meetings, follow these best practices:

  • Start and End on Time: Respect everyone’s time.
  • Avoid Multi-tasking: Encourage members to be present both mentally and physically.
  • Engage Everyone: Everyone should have a role in the meeting. This keeps attendees invested.
  • Keep it Short: As per the Pareto Principle, 80% of the value of a meeting comes from 20% of the content. Keep meetings concise.
  • Document Decisions: Always have a note-taker. Documenting decisions ensures accountability and clarity.

Meetings can easily become ineffective. Here are some pitfalls to watch out for:

  • Lack of Clear Objective: As mentioned earlier, always have a clear purpose.
  • Too Many Attendees: Invite only necessary stakeholders. Remember the two-pizza rule by Jeff Bezos: If two pizzas aren’t enough to feed everyone, there are too many people.
  • Lack of Preparation: Unprepared attendees can derail meetings. Always send necessary materials in advance.

Conclusion

Meetings have gained a notorious reputation, but that doesn’t mean they’re inherently ineffective. When done with purpose and preparation, they can be indispensable tools in the workings of an organization. So, the next time you’re about to click that “Schedule Meeting” button, take a moment to reflect on the genuine purpose of the meeting and ensure it will be time well spent for everyone involved.

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