Organize Meetings Around Outcomes—Not Agendas…

While you might assume that detailed agendas will improve your meetings, they can lead to a false sense of accomplishment. Instead of spending a lot of time and effort on the process for your meeting, think about what outcomes you want to achieve.

  • Start with the why. What’s the specific purpose of this meeting? What do you hope to accomplish?
  • Move on to the what. What topics, themes, and information do you need to cover? What questions do you need answered? List them out.
  • Consider the who. Once you know why you’re meeting and what you hope to talk about, you can determine who needs to be there—and who doesn’t.
  • Don’t overthink the how. Some goals benefit from structured, facilitated conversations. Other times, free-form conversations are sufficient. Don’t be afraid to figure out a structure in real time based on how the conversation naturally flows.
  • Beware the when. It’s tempting to put time limits on everything: 10 minutes for the first topic, five minutes for the second, and so on. But it can be difficult to stick to these schedules. Instead of sharing a rigid timeline with the group, estimate how long you think things will take and use that as your own personal guide to move things along.