How to communicate a meeting's purpose: steps and tips

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 28 April 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Successful communication during company meetings can enhance an organisation's stability and growth. Meetings are opportunities for teams to gather and conceptualise ideas, reinforce policies, solve existing problems and acknowledge achievements. Understanding the primary elements of productive business communication can help you optimise the effectiveness of work meetings. In this article, we discuss how to communicate a meeting's purpose, explore its importance, give tips on how to do this and provide unique examples of meetings.

How to communicate a meeting's purpose

The following steps can help you communicate a meeting's purpose effectively:

1. Establish your objectives

Determining your objectives can be a way of discovering the desired outcome. Organisations can use minutes from previous sessions to create goals for the new forum. It can be easier to communicate a meeting's purpose by setting targets that you and other participants can achieve in the meeting timeframe.

2. Prepare topics

After establishing the goals, you can design a list of topics to discuss during the gathering. You can start this list with priority subjects that require ample time to evaluate. Topics are also a guide for how the meeting progresses.

3. Distribute meeting-agenda copies

You can issue each attendee a copy of the meeting's schedule in advance via email or hard copy. The agenda copy may contain relevant notes from previous meetings for background information or the new forum's objectives and topics. This technique lets participants rehearse their presentations and prepare questions.

4. Maintain the primary subject

A meeting facilitator's role is to ensure that attendees stay on-topic during discussions. They can achieve this by addressing the external issues of individuals who divert from the subject. Sustaining the intended theme is essential since it helps communicate the meeting's purpose.

5. Make careful transitions

Careful transitions between topics can enhance and support the learning and understanding of previous subjects. They allow members to ask questions about sections they find unclear. This strategy can also help to keep the conversation focused.

6. Increase active listeners

You can increase mindful listening in a forum by encouraging attendees to engage. Active listeners are aware of ongoing events and are more likely to understand a meeting's purpose. This enhances the effectiveness of gatherings and reduces future disputes.

7. Allocate breaks

Breaks during long meetings can give the team a chance to relax and understand the information. A refreshed individual is more likely to understand topics and participate during the session. These intervals also give you a chance to redirect the forum's conversation back to its purpose and make any necessary adjustments to the meeting's schedule.

The importance of communicating a meeting's purpose

Below are some benefits of communicating a meeting's purpose:

Building healthier work relationships

Communicating during meetings can help develop teamwork through personal interactions. Strong work alliances can enhance a company's productivity and overall success. You can choose to use video calls during virtual meetings to maintain this teamwork and cooperation.

Related: 8 essential steps for building relationships at work

Making decisions

It can be easier and faster to decide on topics when every member in a forum contributes a clear message. Meetings where executives consider the thoughts and ideas of different individuals promote inclusion. An inclusive culture can make the work environment suitable for everyone and increase effectiveness during operations.

Negotiating a contract

Meetings provide a channel for an organisation's directors to negotiate and renegotiate contract terms with various clients. Effectively communicating a meeting's purpose can help both teams agree on favourable terms. This may also reduce financial, operational and legal risks.

Updating stakeholders

Meetings can update directors and stakeholders on the progress of various projects. They can then evaluate weekly reports, gain knowledge of operations and adjust initial plans according to new client requirements. As you create schedules for meetings, you can allocate time for this activity.

Problem-solving

Some staff meetings aim to solve existing company problems. The affected individual or department can define their issue and other attendees can offer alternative solutions. Collectively devising solutions can resolve problems and enhance teamwork.

Read more: Problem-solving skills: definitions and examples

Facilitating a medium for feedback

Managers can use company meetings to provide constructive criticism to their team. This can be more effective when done in person as this allows for discussion and agreement. Conducting feedback can create an open and honest workspace, build trust and encourage constant improvement.

Tips for running a meeting

The following guidelines can help you conduct a meeting successfully:

Determine the type of meeting

Knowing the type of meeting you're running can help you organise a programme that fits. Forums can vary from team-building, innovation and information sharing meetings. It's also essential to confirm the expected number of participants and whether the discussion is virtual or in-person.

Appoint a person to take minutes

You can designate the role of writing minutes to someone who isn't participating in the meeting to allow them time to listen to the participants carefully, recognise important topics and summarise them. Minutes are crucial to a company since they reference agreements and are the basis for future meetings.

Create a timetable

Designing a strategic schedule can help you optimise the time and run meetings effectively. You can give various topics and speakers time slots and keep a timer to ensure the meeting finishes on time. Time management skills can help you accomplish this role as a meeting's chair.

Related: Time-management skills: definition, examples and tips for improvement

Design rules

Ground rules can help you promote professionalism throughout a meeting and determine the general conduct of the attendees. Establishing a pleasant setting can ensure that every member participates and contributes to all topics freely. You can read out the rules you've designed before a meeting begins to guarantee that everyone understands and agrees.

Use names

Calling group members by their names can personalise the conversation. This is another way to increase interpersonal relationships and promote teamwork. It may also help the recorder accurately note individuals and their opinions.

Listen carefully

It's important that you listen attentively and understand each participant's opinion before moving on to a new topic. Listening skills are essential since they can help you manage the meeting better by answering questions and knowing who to refer to during discussions. You can use an explanatory guide to assist you in developing these skills.

Related: How to improve your active listening skills

Remain neutral

During problem-solving discussions and feedback forums, it's crucial that you remain impartial despite your perspective on an issue. Neutrality may improve participants' trust in you and help you better manage the meeting. You can maintain unbiased opinions by directing the group to a consensus and fostering understanding between disputing groups.

Ask open-ended questions

You can use open-ended questions to ensure that all members understand the discussions. These queries can encourage participants to respond with creative and adequate answers. They also offer everyone the chance to learn new information and collect more details. For example, you can ask, 'How is the new system going to affect the current budget?'

Summarise key points

Outlining the main points can ensure that all participants remember the essential discussed topics. The scribe can also write these subjects down and send them to all members, including absent clients or colleagues. You can also use these points to ensure continuity in future staff meetings.

Plan the next meeting

When concluding a meeting, you can take a few minutes to organise the following forum. Every member can contribute to the date, time and venue. You may also make time to discuss preliminary and unsettled issues from the current meeting.

Types of meetings

The following are common types of meetings:

  • Decision-making meetings: Teams use this forum to formally agree on a subject. They may gather information, discuss major points and vote for their preferred choice.

  • Problem-solving meetings: Colleagues and teams use these meetings to tackle issues affecting their daily operations. They can define problems and research solutions before a meeting to ensure smooth running.

  • Innovation meetings: These meetings can offer highly captivating and engaging experiences. They provide a chance for associates to conceptualise innovation plans and deliver quality content.

  • Team-building meetings: These meetings grow interpersonal relationships among partners and increase teamwork. They may also incorporate structured activities to enhance this cohesion.

  • Status update meetings: Companies schedule these meetings regularly. Their principal goal is typically to go over the performance reviews of projects. The organisation may invite different specialists to these forums to give their insights on a project.

  • Information-sharing meetings: This meeting aims to educate people on a specific and relevant topic. Participants may incorporate presentations, lectures or debates to inform attendees.

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