By now, we know some reasons not to have group meetings:
You've already made up your mind or your boss has made up his/hers;
The subject can be addressed by other means of communication (phone, memo, email, etc.).
Let's add to these by including:
Lack of time to prepare for a meeting;
Lack of data;
A subject of a confidential nature which should not be shared with others in the work group. Issues like hiring, firing, negotiating salaries, and evaluating performance are better dealt with in one-on-one meetings.
Calling a meeting is GOOD when:
You want information or advice from groups;
You want group help in solving a problem or making a decision;
An issue needs discussion for the way it impacts the organization;
You want a meeting OR the group wants a meeting;
A problem exists between groups;
A problem exists, but the problem and who's responsible for dealing with it are not clear.
Key to your preparation for a meeting is the meeting objective. What is your purpose in having a meeting? What is the main goal of getting people together for your meeting? If your objective addresses one of the previously mentioned reasons for having a meeting, then you can start preparing in depth. A meeting objective should be brief, concise, and written as a clear goal, rather than a vague statement. Use action verbs with "to," such as to inform, to create, to decide.