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Three Elements of Good Meeting Design

While each meeting will be different -- tailored to the task and needs of the group -- every meeting will need three basic parts.

  • First, the opening sets the stage for the work to be done. Whether long or very brief, the opening should build a solid foundation from which the group can accomplish its task. It should review the purpose, outcomes, and agenda to make sure everyone is on the same page. It should review or create ground rules and build an environment conducive to doing productive work together. (Article 7 in this series, Getting Your Meeting Off to a Good Start, will present more information on this topic.)
  • The task of the meeting is where the work gets done. This is where the desired outcomes are accomplished. It could be one task or several steps. You may move through several phases -- for example, generating ideas, evaluating them, and coming to a decision. You may be analyzing a problem, identifying a goal, or agreeing on a solution. The task is the meat of the matter.
  • The closing includes reviewing the agreements that the group has made; identifying the next steps -- including who is responsible and by when; and evaluating the meeting itself.

    Key Points To Take Away

    --- Every good meeting needs a clear opening to start off on the right foot.
    --- Every good meeting needs a closing to affirm agreements and set next steps.
    --- The task of the meeting is all the meat in the middle of the sandwich.
    --- It is very messy to eat a sandwich without the bread to hold it together.

Often a group will focus on the task while ignoring the opening and closing. Doing that is akin to trying to eat a sandwich without the bread to hold it together.

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

NEXT WEEK IN GREAT MEETINGS: Getting your meeting off to a good start.



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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