Ever wondered how to run effective meetings?
It all comes down to your meeting purpose.
You see, the purpose of meetings is what determines how useful a meeting is.
And today, we’ll look at 8 meeting purpose examples. By using this list, you can make sure that every meeting you run is effective and productive.
Ready to read more? Let’s go.
Meeting Purpose #1: Sharing Information
The first meeting purpose?
You see, meetings are all about communication.
If you can communicate something more effectively, you shouldn’t run a meeting.
But if a meeting is the best way to communicate, then that’s the way to go.
And information-sharing is one of those things that meetings work great for.
A lot of information is shared in any organization.
So naturally, not all information should be shared in a meeting.
Some information is better shared through other communication methods. Tools like email, your internal chat or whatever other content-sharing systems you use.
But what information should be shared in meetings?
Here’s what you need to know:
When should you run a meeting?
The information you want to share during information meetings is information that is better communicated to a group of people in-person rather than sharing it by other means.
Information that leads to questions.
For example: You’re re-structuring your organization. People will have questions about their roles and what their future will look like.
But information-sharing meetings could also be simple status update meetings. Here you might share recent updates and hold a Q&A session to share information with all participants, at once.
Meeting Purpose #2: Making Decisions
This is an excellent reason to run meetings because you get a chance to talk about your project face-to-face.
That said, not every decision requires a meeting.
Just the decisions that require some back-and-forth and would be impractical to make in any other way.
Here’s the thing, though.
Decision-making meetings often end up being time-wasters because meeting attendants get bogged down with irrelevant details.
Fortunately, there are steps you can take to prevent this from happening.
Here’s what you need to do:
How to make decisions during meetings
What’s key to making decisions in meetings?
That’s right. Preparation.
Come prepared for your meeting. And ask others to come prepared, too.
Share an agenda and ask everyone to prepare their talking points and questions before the meeting.
That way, you only need to sit down and discuss the decision… Not prep each other on anything else around the decision.
Meeting Purpose #3: Creating Solutions
The third meeting purpose?
That’s right. solving problems by coming up with solutions.
A project lags behind. You need to figure out a new approach to execute it successfully.
Running a meeting.
Here, you get together with your co-workers to discuss and brainstorm a solution.
How to run a successful brainstorming meeting
Now, like with any other meeting, brainstorming meetings don’t just happen.
There are certain characteristics of a successful meeting that need to be met.
You need to prepare and ask meeting participants to think about the problem before the meeting.
Plus, there are a few specific steps you need to take to make this meeting successful.
Clarify, research and formulate challenges.
These are steps you take before getting your co-workers onboard.
Then, prep them before the meeting so they have a chance to familiarize themselves with the problem.
At this stage, all meeting participants start brainstorming solutions. These ideas are then presented during the meeting.
In other words:
You don’t start generating ideas during your meeting.
Instead, you combine and evaluate the ideas.
When you’ve discussed your ideas you draw up an action plan.
Last, this action plan is implemented. And how do you make sure the project doesn’t just fizzle out?
Follow up on your meeting decisions.
This way, you make sure your meeting has a clear purpose.
Meeting Purpose #4: Building Relationships
The purpose of meetings isn’t just to share information or make decisions.
Nope, meetings can also be about something as vague as building relationships.
You see, communication in an organization depends on the relationships within that organization.
If you want better teamwork, you need to help people build relationships.
The same goes for people outside of your organization.
Want to cooperate? Sell?
And meetings are a great way to do just that.
How to build relationships in meetings
So how do you make sure your meetings build meaningful relationships?
There are a few basic principles. These are:
#1: Allow others to talk first.
Instead of offering your opinion or advice upfront, ask others to speak up first. This gives them a chance to express themselves and feel heard.
#2: Give specific praise.
How good doesn’t it feel to hear positive feedback? Praising others is a great way to build relationships. Just note one thing: Your praise needs to be authentic, specific and preferably show the impact of this person’s actions.
#3: Ask questions.
Relationship-building meetings aren’t about you. Instead, they’re about the person you want to build a relationship with. If it’s your team, act more like a coach than a meeting leader. Ask questions and challenge them to think deeper. If it’s a client or someone else outside your organization, show you’re interested in them by listening more than you talk.
Meeting Purpose #5: Sharing Inspiration
Here’s the deal:
Meetings don’t have to be dull or dry.
Some of the most meaningful meetings are all about sharing inspiration and getting inspired.
Motivational talks, sharing results and wins, having a guest speaker…
There are plenty of ways to create an inspiring meeting.
And no, inspiring others doesn’t need to be the focus of your meeting. It could be a regular, but inspirational, team meeting.
How to run an inspirational meeting
But how do you make sure your meeting is inspirational?
Give people ideas. Challenge them to think in new ways and develop themselves.
During a meeting, ask meeting attendants to set up a specific goal based on what you discussed in that meeting.
What do you think happens when they achieve that goal and can share it with everyone else?
That’s right. They feel more motivated than ever.
Meeting Purpose #6: Negotiating
The seventh meeting purpose?
Negotiating, influencing, and persuading others.
Sales meetings or meetings where you need to convince another department or co-worker about your ideas and suggestions.
How to negotiate
For your negotiation to be purposeful, it needs to lead somewhere.
That’s why you first need to learn how to negotiate.
#1: Listen to the other party.
The first rule of any negotiation is to listen to the other person. What do they want out of a deal? How is it useful to them? What value will they get? A negotiation isn’t a situation where the “winner takes it all.” Instead, it’s a way to find out how you and the other person can help each other.
#2: Come prepared.
Purposeful meetings require that you come prepared. This applies even more to negotiations. If you want to make sure your negotiation is productive and effective, make sure you know exactly what you want out of a deal and what you can offer.
#3: Don’t get stuck on a specific issue.
Negotiations could drag on and on if both parties got stuck on every issue. That’s why you want to set aside any issue where you feel stuck and come back to it once your deal is almost done. When you have a bigger overview of the deal you’re negotiating, it’s easier to find a solution to smaller issues.
#4: Ask questions.
Whenever you feel you need more information or the discussion isn’t moving forward, ask questions.
Meeting Purpose #7: Educating Others
The purpose of meetings in business can be to educate.
This could be an internal meeting to prep a team on a new project.
Or it could be more general.
A workshop or talk with a thought leader.
And why not ask employees to share their skills and knowledge with each other?
How to set up an educational meeting
Your educational meetings aren’t lectures.
Instead, make them interactional and fun.
Ask questions and encourage others to ask questions.
Tie the topic to your co-workers’ jobs. That way, they feel they’re developing themselves and participating in the meeting becomes a lot more interesting.
Over to You!
There you have it- those are the 8 meeting purposes.
The purpose of meetings isn’t to meet… But to make your teamwork more effective and productive.
Whenever you want to set up a meeting, come back to this list.
Does it have a purpose?
If not, opt to communicate with a different delivery method.
Now, over to you…
Any meeting purposes we might have missed?
Share your thoughts in the comments below.