Looking to learn the art of scheduling an effective meeting? Read this week’s Teaching Tuesday to find out.

Most people have so many meetings on their calendars that they can’t finish their ‘actual’ work. Can you relate? 

This is especially critical as we all try to do more with less resources. Adding insult to injury, people don’t find value in the meetings they’re attending anyway! There’s a reason that we have so many memes about “This meeting should have been an email.”  

I read a great paper by McKinsey & Company last week called ‘What is an effective meeting?  

Effective meetings are all about purpose, preparation, and presentation’. There was a lot of great information in this paper that I wanted to share with you.  

When should a meeting be scheduled? 

Meetings are expensive. Considering each attendee’s time and wages, ensuring that the meeting is worth investing time and resources is imperative. When you look at things from this perspective, it becomes easier to identify that not everything needs to be a meeting and that scheduling meetings can be more intentional. 

Ask yourself these questions to ensure a meeting is necessary: 

  1. Does a decision need to be made with input or collaboration from key stakeholders in the meeting?   
  1. Does a solution or plan need to be innovatively developed to address a more significant strategic concern or opportunity that requires input from each of the attendees because of their unique perspectives, strengths, or areas of responsibility?  
  1. Does a relationship need to be nurtured or developed with external stakeholders that require leadership visibility and support?  
  1. Does a relationship need to be nurtured or developed with internal stakeholders that require visibility and support? 

If none of these situations apply, likely, a meeting isn’t the ideal choice.  

What is the purpose of the meeting?   

What are you hoping to achieve by bringing these people together? Does everyone know why you called this meeting? Do they understand the desired outcome from the meeting? How do they know to be prepared for this meeting? Unfortunately, too often, meetings get scheduled without sufficient clarity to make the time scheduled productive.   

When scheduling a meeting, it should be clear for everyone about the desired outcome or result from the meeting. Everyone should be provided with the necessary information prior to the meeting starting, with the expectation that everyone will read and understand the issue prior to the start of the meeting. This way, the time spent together is actually spent on actively achieving the goal. 

Who should you invite to the meeting? 

When you are scheduling a meeting, think about WHY you are inviting each person. What will they contribute to the meeting that couldn’t be accomplished by them sending a report or email? In your meeting invite, clarify why you are inviting each person, and what they will add to the conversation. This enables you to only invite those people necessary, but also allows your meeting participants to identify if you might have missed someone who should also be included. 

Meetings, for the sake of having meetings, do not help people to feel more included or informed about what is happening in the organization. In fact, it limits their ability to successfully complete their work, and can create frustration. Make sure that you really need a meeting. If you do need a meeting, help to minimize the time needed for that meeting by clarifying the purpose of the meeting and attaching all necessary materials and information to the invite, with the expectation that people will come to the meeting having read and understood the issue. Finally, help everyone to understand what is expected from them in the meeting by explaining the rationale for each attendee’s presence. 

Hopefully this will help prevent needless meeting related mems from circling in your organization 😊. 


For more content like this, be sure to follow IT By Design on LinkedIn and YouTube, check out our on-demand learning platform, Build IT University, and be sure to register for Build IT LIVE, our 3-day education focused conference, September 9-11 in Orlando, FL!

Click here to register today for Build IT LIVE ’24, the only education-focused MSP channel event that provides editable tools and templates for its attendees, to be held in Orlando, Florida, from September 9-11. 
Build IT Live 2023 Logo - Five Effective Ways to Create a Game-Changing Culture