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Meeting Tips

Make Your Meetings Matter With These Goals in 2024

Published
February 15, 2024
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5
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Last updated
February 15, 2024
Arianna Rulli
Make Your Meetings Matter With These Goals in 2024
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Work meetings are infamous for feeling like a waste of time and filling our calendars. But it's not like we can completely get rid of them. So what can we do?

Having clear goals is a good first step. It helps attendees or team members understand what is expected, how the meeting will proceed without wasting time, and how to stay on track.

In this blog, we'll delve into the anatomy of meeting goals, exploring their importance, types, and how they contribute to more effective, meaningful and productive meetings.

What Are Meeting Goals?

Meeting goals are specific outcomes or achievements that a meeting aims to accomplish, which can be quantitatively or qualitatively measured to assess the meeting's effectiveness.

But how can we set great goals? Consider the SMART criteria—Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-Bound—to ensure meeting objectives are tangible and achievable within the meeting's timeframe.

Example SMART Goal: "Within this meeting, identify 3 key project milestones, assign team roles for each milestone, and outline the primary resources required."

How Does This Goal Meet All the SMART Criteria?

  • Specific: The goal targets 3 key areas - setting project milestones, assigning team roles, and outlining necessary resources, making the objectives clear and focused.
  • Measurable: Success can be measured by the completion of three tasks during the meeting: identifying milestones, assigning roles, and listing resources.
  • Achievable: The tasks set out in the goal are within the team's capacity to accomplish during the meeting, assuming a well-structured agenda and active participation.
  • Relevant: This goal is directly tied to the essential components of project planning, making it highly relevant to the meeting's purpose and the project's success.
  • Time-Bound: The goal is constrained by the meeting's timeframe, ensuring that the objectives are to be achieved by the end of the session.

It's important to note, however, that not every meeting goal will fully meet all these SMART criteria.

Ideally, a well-structured goal should align with one or more of these principles to provide clear direction and improve the chances of a successful outcome.

For instance, a goal such as "Start and end the meeting on time" is time-bound, offering a clear timeframe, while "Identify potential risks for the latest software migration" is specific and relevant to the project at hand.

Examples of Goals That Don't Meet Any SMART Criteria:

  • "Have a good discussion": This goal is vague, lacks specificity, and doesn't offer a measurable outcome, making it unclear how to determine if the goal has been achieved.
  • "Think about future projects": Without specificity, measurability, or a timeframe, this goal does not provide clear direction for meeting participants.

Difference Between Meeting Goals vs. Meeting Purpose

Goals

Goals are more concrete and specific than a purpose. They provide clear targets for what the meeting needs to achieve and help in structuring the agenda and guiding discussions.

Meeting goals might include setting deadlines, assigning responsibilities for each team member, or deciding on a marketing strategy for a new product launch.

They offer a more specific 'how' to the meeting's purpose, detailing the steps needed to achieve the overarching aims.

Purpose

On the other hand, the meeting purpose sets the overarching reason for gathering, providing the broader context within which specific meeting goals are established. It's about defining the 'why' behind the meeting.

It is more abstract and provides a framework for the meeting, giving participants a clear understanding of the importance and context of the gathering.

If you want to dive deeper into the concept of meeting purpose and how it complements meeting goals, check out this other blog as well:

6 Types of Meetings + Example Goals

Let's take a closer look at how meeting goals go hand in hand with specific meeting types. Note that the categorization isn't strict; one meeting can span different themes and therefore a wide variety of goals as well.

(1) Project Planning Meetings

These meetings are essential for laying the groundwork for successful projects. They bring team members together to align on the strategy, ensuring everyone is clear on the project's objectives and their role in achieving them.

Example Goals:

  • Set specific targets and deadlines to track progress
  • Clarify team roles and responsibilities
  • Determine the resources needed to support project tasks
  • Identify at least 3 potential project challenges and brainstorm initial strategies

(2) Decision-Making Meetings

The purpose of these meetings is to achieve consensus or a majority agreement, enabling the team to move forward with a clear and collaborative direction reaching conclusions or resolutions regarding specific issues.

Example Goals:

  • Finalize project priorities for the next quarter
  • Select focus areas for the upcoming marketing campaign
  • Approve the plan for operational efficiency improvements

(3) Problem Solving Meetings

These meetings foster collaborative analysis of the issue at hand, brainstorming of potential solutions, and selection of the most effective action to address difficulties. They focus on identifying solutions to specific challenges or obstacles.

Example Goals:

  • Identify root causes of a specific problem
  • Develop solution strategies
  • Optimize operational efficiency
  • Reduce project delays

(4) Feedback and Evaluation Meetings

These meetings are designed to review outcomes, analyze what was successful and what was not, and pinpoint areas for improvement. Their purpose is to assess the performance of projects, initiatives, or overall team efforts and provide constructive feedback.

Example Goals:

  • Assess the effectiveness of the recent project against set objectives
  • Identify strengths and areas for improvement based on recent team feedback
  • Summarize key takeaways from the feedback to guide future working session meetings

(5) Information-Sharing Meetings

These meetings are orchestrated to keep all members updated on recent developments, procedural changes, or new findings pertinent to their roles or projects. The focus is on distributing essential information, updates, and insights among participants efficiently and effectively.

Example Goals:

  • Update the team on the latest industry trends and their potential impact
  • Share recent changes in company policies and discuss their implementation
  • Present findings from the latest project post-mortem analysis

Finding it difficult to gather findings from previous projects? Maybe you can no longer make sense of your own meeting notes from those days?

To not repeat this scenario anymore, use Wudpecker's AI Notetaker for your future work meetings. It's easy to use and makes concise summaries of your conversations. Going back to your old discussions and a-ha moments has never been easier.

(6) Team Building Meetings

Meetings dedicated to this purpose typically feature activities or discussions aimed at building trust, fostering collaboration, and boosting team cohesion. Goals are centered on enhancing relationships, improving communication, and cultivating a positive team culture.

Example Goals:

  • Have a roundtable session to share and appreciate individual contributions
  • Conduct a workshop on effective communication techniques
  • Develop a set of team values through a collaborative exercise

Tips for Achieving Meeting Goals

Now we know how to set quality goals for a meeting. But how do we make sure those goals will be met and they don't remain just pixels on a screen?

Here are some tips to ensure every meeting objective will be acted upon.

  1. Define the Main Purpose/Type of the Meeting: Begin by clearly identifying why the meeting is necessary. Understanding the overarching reason for the meeting will assist you in determining your aims.
  2. Only Invite Relevant People: Include only those directly involved in the project or discussion to ensure productivity and relevance. If key players aren't available, consider rescheduling to ensure the meeting's effectiveness​​. Clarify everyone's role in the meeting beforehand.
  3. Use a Timed Agenda: Assign specific times to each agenda item to maintain focus and productivity. This helps in managing the meeting's pace and ensures that all important topics are covered without rushing​​.
  4. End with Action Items and DRIs: Clearly define action items and assign directly responsible individuals (DRIs) at the meeting's end. This ensures accountability and follow-through on discussed plans​​.
  5. Send a Meeting Recap: Summarize the meeting's key points, decisions, and assigned action items in a recap sent to all attendees. This reinforces the meeting's outcomes and keeps everyone aligned on the next steps. Automate this process with tools like Wudpecker.
  6. Review and Reflect Post-Meeting: After the meeting, assess whether the goals were met and reflect on the process. Evaluating the outcomes and the meeting’s effectiveness will offer insights for enhancing future meetings.

Incorporating these tips can help in making meetings more effective and ensuring that the set goals are not only discussed but also acted upon.

Conclusion

Effective meetings start with well-defined goals.

In this blog, we've covered what meeting goals can look like in the context of different meeting types, how to create good goals, and how to make sure they are implemented.

For your next gathering, whether it's a brainstorming session, business meeting or whatever else, apply our tips for the most desired outcome.

FAQs

What Should My Meeting Goals Be?

Meeting goals should be tailored to the specific type of meeting being held, ensuring they are clear, actionable, and directly contribute to the team's broader objectives.

Here are some examples of meeting types and specific goals for them.

  • For Project Planning Meetings, goals might include setting specific milestones and defining team roles
  • Decision-Making Meetings should aim to reach consensus on key issues, such as finalizing project priorities
  • Problem Solving Meetings focus on identifying issues and brainstorming solutions
  • Feedback and Evaluation Meetings are about assessing project outcomes and identifying improvement areas
  • Information-Sharing Meetings aim to update the team on important developments
  • Team Building Meetings focus on enhancing team dynamics and cohesion

How Can You Measure the Success of Meeting Goals?

Measuring the success of meeting goals involves evaluating whether the specific objectives set out in the meeting agenda were met. This can be done through a follow-up or a retrospective meeting where team members review meeting minutes and assess the outcomes against the predefined goals.

Success can also be measured by the extent to which the meeting has contributed to advancing business processes, decision making, or project milestones.

Successful meeting goals are those that lead to tangible progress, such as the completion of a new project phase, improved employee engagement, or enhanced team cohesion.

Utilizing measurable goals allows for a quantifiable assessment of how well the meeting achieved its intended purpose.

What Are the Best Practices for Communicating Meeting Goals to Participants?

Before the meeting, send a clear and concise meeting agenda in advance, highlighting the goals and expected outcomes.

During the meeting, reiterate the team objectives at the start to make sure everyone's on the same page. Utilize visual aids, like slides or charts, to outline goals clearly.

Post-meeting, share a summary of the goals discussed, along with any decisions made and action items assigned, to reinforce the objectives and keep everyone aligned on the next steps.

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