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Five Reasons for a Meeting

Before you hold your next meeting, be sure you and the others at the meeting know why it's being held. Meetings can drag on and feel like a waste of time if the goals are not clear to all in attendance.

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Before you hold your next meeting, be sure you and the others at the meeting know why it's being held. Meetings can drag on and feel like a waste of time if the goals are not clear to all in attendance.

David Allen, founder and President of a management consulting, coaching, and training company (www.davidco.com), offers these five reasons for holding a meeting.

  • 1. Give information: "I've brought you all together today to let you know what's been going on about the pending lawsuit. I'd like you to leave here today with as much background as you need to be able to answer questions that may arise from our customers."
  • 2. Get information: "We've invited you all here to find out from everyone what we should be aware of that's going on in your division relative to the new product roll-out. We want to know what's happening at all levels in the organization about this, so we can make some adjustments in our plans accordingly."
  • 3. Develop options: "We'd like to spend this afternoon surfacing, formulating, and exploring as many possible ways to deal with the problem we've just uncovered in the new system implementation. We want to make sure we've got everyone's perspectives and all the possible alternatives formulated."
  • 4. Make decisions: "We've brought you all together this morning to present to you the three proposed approaches to launching our new product, and get a consensus decision on which one to pursue."
  • 5. Warm magical human contact: "There are three agenda items we would like to cover today. And though we could have done this by email, we wanted to have an opportunity to bring the new team together in one place, and get some time to get to know each other between the lines..."

Some meetings may only have one reason and others more than one of the five but it's important to know and share what the meeting is about so there is a greater chance of accomplishing what the meeting was intended to do. Before you schedule your next meeting, take a look at this list and determine which of the five reasons apply. It might also help to write down a short statement of purpose. This will establish a clear vision of the meeting's point and keep it on track.

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