Meeting Objectives: Definition, Benefits and How To Write One
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When you are preparing to lead a business meeting, you might wonder how you can structure your meeting, prioritize important tasks and track your team's progress. Many professionals use meeting objectives to identify achievable goals for their meetings that can help guide their discussions. If you want to facilitate productive meetings, then learning how to set clear meeting objectives may interest you. In this article, we explore the benefits of meeting objectives, share tips to help you create your own and list examples of effective meeting objectives you can use as a reference.
What are meeting objectives?
A meeting objective is a simple statement that defines the desired outcome of the meeting. Its primary purpose is to give participants a measurable goal that they can work on achieving together. You can then determine the success of a meeting based on whether the team achieved the goal. Meeting objectives are commonly used to increase productivity during professional gatherings, such as sales meetings or team assemblies.
Purpose vs. objectives
The purpose of a meeting differs from a meeting objective. A purpose is the general reason employees are holding the meeting. You can establish the purpose before scheduling the meeting to ensure all participants understand why they need to attend. A meeting objective is a clearly defined goal you hope to achieve as a result of the meeting.
A few key differences between a purpose and a meeting objective include:
Purposes are broad and general.
Meeting objectives are precise.
Purposes are intangible and abstract.
Meeting objectives are tangible and concrete.
Purposes are not measurable.
Meeting objectives have measurable results.
Why are meeting objectives important?
Many professionals take the time to prepare meeting objectives for their teams because of the benefits they provide. Setting meeting objectives for your organization can improve your ability to do the following:
Clearly define your goals
Taking the time to develop an objective before your meeting can help you specify your organizational goals. Ask yourself what your desired outcome is and what problems you need to resolve. The answers to these questions can help you develop your meeting objective and host a more focused gathering. For example, you can set an objective to determine a department's monthly budget and how to allocate financial resources.
Provide structure to your meeting
Once you have defined your meeting objective, you can easily outline a meeting agenda to support it. A meeting agenda is an ordered list of topics you plan to cover during your meeting. It prioritizes the most important items you need to discuss with your team, and it can serve as a guide for how the meeting will progress. After the meeting ends, you can reference your meeting objective and agenda to help you recall the discussions that took place or relay information to participants who were not available to attend.
With a meeting objective, you can encourage collaboration by giving participants a common goal to work towards as a team. A good meeting objective also explains the importance of achieving the goal, which can help you ensure that your team fully supports any decision that results from your meeting. Additionally, having a meeting objective can increase motivation and boost morale among your team members.
Increase your confidence
Developing a meeting objective in advance can help increase your confidence and make you feel more prepared. Many business professionals use their meeting objective as a reference point they can revisit throughout the meeting to remind participants of the organizational goal. This can help you feel more comfortable coaching your team and give feedback based on measurable results. Presenting a clear meeting objective to your team can also make you appear more professional and organized.
Manage your time effectively
Professionals usually aim to achieve meeting objectives within an allotted meeting time frame. When teams understand what tasks need to be completed during a meeting, they can hold each other accountable and focus on accomplishing their goal. Creating a meeting objective may help you maximize your team's output and encourage them to create action plans that drive results. This can eliminate the need for unnecessary follow-up meetings and save your team time.
Generate ideas about a specific topic
If you are looking to generate ideas about a specific topic, defining a meeting objective can help you identify what type of input you would like from the rest of your team. You can also gather information from different perspectives and make important decisions. Write down the ideas your team develops throughout the meeting so you can keep track of them. Then review the ideas at the end of the meeting and determine which ones are the best.
Creating a meeting objective that is specific and time-based can help you measure results and determine if a meeting is successful. It can also help you assess where there may be room for improvement for your next meeting. Finally, providing your team with an achievable meeting objective can help them track their own progress and make it easier for you to reward them for their accomplishments. Over time, this can encourage team members to be more productive and results-driven during meetings.
How to write a meeting objective
Here are some steps you can follow to help you write an objective for your next meeting:
1. Identify your desired outcome
Consider why you are scheduling a meeting, and what you hope to achieve as a result. You can write your goals down on a piece of paper to help you keep track of them. Try to identify which goal is the most important for this specific meeting to help you decide its focus.
2. Write clear and concise words
Once you have identified what your goal is, try to summarize it into one sentence that is short and easy to understand. This can help you ensure you can achieve the objective within the duration of the meeting. Use simple language to make it easier for participants to remember what the meeting objective is. This can also help participants stay focused on achieving your objective, which may increase productivity.
Make the objective actionable
A meeting objective should be something you can accomplish. Use action verbs to help participants visualize what completing the meeting objective looks like. This will make it easier to determine whether your meeting was successful.
4. Acknowledge the benefits of achieving the objective
Make sure participants understand why it is important to accomplish the meeting objective. You can do this by sharing the specific benefits of accomplishing the goal. This can help you motivate your team to achieve the desired outcome, which may enable you to have a successful meeting.
5. Emphasize measurements for success
Determine which key metrics you can use to measure success. Try to use metrics that are both quantifiable and time sensitive. For example, your meeting objective may be for your team to generate 10 new article ideas before your 45-minute meeting ends. If your team can generate 10 or more article ideas within this time period, then they were successful in achieving the meeting objective.
6. Share your meeting objective
Share your meeting objective with participants at least 24 hours before the meeting takes place. This can help participants prepare for the meeting and ensure that everyone has the same goal in mind. It can also save time and increase your team's engagement.
For example, if you let your team know ahead of time that the objective of your meeting is to generate three new slogans to present to a client, participants can start developing slogan ideas before the meeting and come prepared to discuss them.
Examples of meeting objectives
Here are some examples of effective meeting objectives you can refer to when creating your own:
If you are meeting with your company's human resources manager to review applications you have received for a job opening, your aim may be to leave the meeting with a condensed list of candidates who you plan to interview. Here's an example of a meeting objective for this situation:
"The objective of this meeting is to narrow our pool of applicants down to the top three candidates best suited for this role and schedule in-person interviews with each of them early next week."
If you are meeting with a client to discuss concepts for a marketing campaign, your goal may be to leave the meeting with a clear direction of which concept the client likes the best. An effective meeting objective for this situation can be:
"Our goal for this session is to present three different concepts and identify which one the client would like us to implement for our next marketing campaign."
If you are working on a large team project that involves multiple steps, you may choose to meet with your coworkers to determine how you can organize the project and delegate tasks. An effective meeting objective for this situation could be:
"The objective we are striving for today is to identify what steps we need to take in order to complete this project, assign the steps to individual members of our team and set deadlines for the completion of each step."
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