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When to Have Meetings

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.

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