If the objective or main purpose of the meeting is not clear, participants will not grasp why they should attend. Or you might invite the wrong people.

Example of an unclear objective: This is a meeting of the Administration area.

Example of a clear objective: The intention is to analyze the proposed new billing policy and prepare our comments on it.

Benefits of correcting this mistake:

  • Makes it easier to plan a results-focused agenda
  • Helps prioritize the use of time
  • Ensures that the right people are in the room
  • Keeps the discussion on track
  • Increases the probability of meeting the objective

In practice: Explain the objective at the beginning of the meeting and how each person is expected to contribute to the discussion. Are you asking them to generate ideas? Provide feedback? Make a decision? Make sure these expectations are shared.

Facilitation tip: Write the objective on the white board or flip chart and keep it visible throughout the meeting.

If you cannot clearly define the purpose of the meeting, cancel it!

This is the first of five messages about common mistakes that that make meetings boring and unproductive. You can see the complete list in our new, free guide: Excellent Meetings at Work.