10 Ways Your Meetings Can Improve Simply by Setting an Objective

Jonathan Kressaty

Clearly explain the purpose of a meeting by setting an explicit objective on each Agenda.

An Agenda is a powerful tool to make Meetings more valuable, but a blank Agenda doesn’t help anyone before the meeting starts. A clear objective at the top of the Agenda ensures that attendees know what the host wants to accomplish and makes it clear what the attendee can expect to give and take away from the meeting. Here are ten reasons why an objective can make your meeting a little bit better:

  1. Alignment and Focus: Think of an objective as the compass for your meeting. It ensures that everyone is sailing in the same direction, making it less likely for discussions to stray off-course. It guarantees that participants remain tethered to the central issue, optimizing time and effort.
  2. Enhanced Preparation: Knowledge of the objective allows attendees to adequately prep beforehand. Whether it’s accumulating data, brainstorming solutions, or spotting potential challenges, a clear goal ensures that discussions are informed and purposeful from the get-go.
  3. Streamlined Decision Making: With an evident objective, attendees can immediately understand the desired outcome. This clarity drives actionable decisions and helps formulate concrete steps to take post-meeting.
  4. Success Metrics: After your meeting wraps up, how do you gauge its success? The objective offers a tangible metric. Reflect on whether you achieved your goal, and if not, analyze why, paving the way for more efficient future meetings.
  5. Valuing Attendees’ Time: Setting an objective is a nod of respect towards your attendees. It signifies that you acknowledge the worth of their time and have given due consideration to the meeting’s intent.
  6. Prioritization of Agenda: Once you’re armed with a clear objective, it becomes simpler to align and prioritize the various agenda items. This organization ensures that each topic directly feeds into your overarching goal.
  7. Boosted Engagement: The power of understanding the “why” behind a task cannot be underestimated. When participants grasp the purpose of a meeting, their engagement is heightened, fostering a richer, more collaborative discussion.
  8. A Defined Call-to-Action: Round off your meeting by referring back to your objective. A clear call-to-action ensures that the momentum and focus you’ve cultivated doesn’t dissipate once everyone logs off or leaves the room.
  9. Combatting Scope Creep: Ever been in a meeting that spiraled into unrelated territories? A sharp, explicit objective serves as a protective boundary, keeping the discussion centered and relevant.
  10. Real-world Resonance: To truly drive home the importance of objectives, ponder over real-life scenarios. Reflect on instances when meetings veered off due to ambiguous goals versus those that achieved meaningful outcomes with a well-defined purpose. It’s a testament to the transformative power of a clear objective.

As it turns out, setting a clear, actionable, narrowly-focused objective can be difficult. How do you actually accomplish this?

The top of every Groupthink Agenda includes a dedicated section where you can define a meeting objective. Type anything you want, but consider keeping your objective short, informative, and direct. Clearly state what you want to have happen, and also explain what your attendees can expect. Add any instructions, pre-meeting requests, or process for recurring tasks, and don’t hesitate to adjust the objective as meeting requirements change.

Groupthink can even help you set an objective – mention the Groupthink Assistant in the Agenda chat and ask for some suggestions:

Incorporating these principles and understanding the weight of a well-defined objective can improve the quality and efficiency of your meetings. So the next time you’re drafting that agenda, remember to start with a clear, purposeful objective.