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Is a Meeting Necessary?

Nothing makes people happier than being freed from an unnecessary meeting. Ask yourself these questions before you call a meeting:

  • Do you need interactive communication?
  • Do people need to work together to come up with ideas?
  • Will being together build valuable synergy?

Key Points To Take Away

--- Don't waste everyone's time, including yours, on unnecessary meetings.
--- If you don't need interaction among people, you don't need a meeting.
--- Telling people something they can read isn't a good reason for a meeting.
--- If you bring people together in a meeting, engage them in a useful activity.

If the answer to those questions is yes, then plan your meeting. But if the answer is no, look for alternatives. Try an email or a memo instead.

If the team needs a boost, plan a potluck supper, not a meeting.

Sometimes, delivering information such as a program change or a new approach to the class schedule does require interaction. Ask yourself:

  • Would it help if participants heard each other's questions and then the answers?
  • Do you need to ask participants to generate some ideas associated with the information?
  • Does the group need to generate a list of next steps or impacts of the information?

If the information is about a policy that has been decided, and there is not an option for changing it, don't use questions that focus on whether or not they like it. Ask questions about how to implement the policy, what questions they have about implementation, or what support or training they need to carry out the new policy well. If the information is about a policy still being developed, then you can ask participants for their input on the work to date.

If you bring people together in a meeting, be sure that you engage them in a useful activity.

For more information about the stages of meeting development, order your copy of Great Meetings! Great Results today.

NEXT WEEK IN GREAT MEETINGS: Setting a meeting purpose and desired outcomes.

About Great Meetings

Pam Plumb and Dee Kelsey are your facilitators in charge of Education World's Great Meetings series. They are also authors of the popular guide to meeting facilitation, Great Meetings! Great Results. Together, Pam and Dee have more than 40 years' experience facilitating change and training meeting leaders.

Learn more by clicking the links below:

* Read biographies
Learn about Pam and Dee.

* Read a "backgrounder"
What will you learn from this series?

* See the Great Meetings archive
See past articles in the series.

* Visit the Great Meetings Web site
Learn about the book, training workshops Pam and Dee offer, and more.

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