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How to Set Meeting Goals That Work ✅

Take time to create specific, relevant meeting goals, and set your team up for success.

How to Set Meeting Goals That Work ✅
Rob Lennon
Customer Education Lead at Hugo
Marketer and author with 18 years experience in retail and SaaS startups across healthcare, mar-tech, and ad-tech, and productivity software sectors.

When you need a meeting that gets things done, effective meeting goals clear the way.

This goes for general goals like ending on time and more nuanced ones like deciding how to handle the latest project hurdle. Good goals help ensure that your team focuses on the finish line.

What overall meeting goals should you consider as you build your agenda? What specific meeting goals does your team need to succeed? Let’s talk about it.

Have Meeting Goals That Matter

Too often, meeting planners focus their goal-setting energy in all the wrong places. While it’s important to pick a time and location that works for attendees, you won’t be able to consider more important goals if you expend all your energy on that.

If you have an especially large attendee list or a distributed team in many time zones, take some work off your plate with a meeting scheduling tool that finds a time that works for everyone. Then, turn your attention to the meeting objectives that matter.

Not sure what matters? Check out our piece on SMART goals to get started. In a nutshell, you want goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound (S.M.A.R.T.). With this in mind, you can set goals that are sure to keep your meeting on track.

Meeting Goals for an Effective Meeting

There are many ways to ensure that your team is set up for a successful meeting. Some possible goals for an effective meeting are:

  • Start and end on time
  • Use time efficiently
  • Remain engaged throughout the meeting
  • Generate actionable ideas
  • Get input, buy-in, and/or feedback from everyone in the room
  • Ensure every action item is assigned to someone
  • Set a date to follow up on action items

These are SMART goals that respect people’s time and make space for a productive meeting. If you’re looking to create more specific goals within your meeting, read on. We’re about to dive into setting the kinds of nuanced goals that get work done.

Free, 15-minute guide to shorter, fewer, better meetings.

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"My meetings have transformed."
—Nick Valuri, Zapier
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Goal-Setting for A Meeting

General meeting goals are a great place for practicing SMART goal creation. Specific goals put that practice into action. You’ll need them to craft an action-oriented meeting agenda to ensure everyone’s engaged during the meeting and motivated to take the next steps when the meeting is over.

Ideally, no meeting ever gets scheduled without a clear goal already in mind. Perhaps this is a recurring weekly team meeting where the goal is to check in with everyone’s progress and ask whether anyone needs support.

Or, perhaps this is a kickoff meeting for a new, exciting project. That kind of meeting might have quite a few goals, such as covering historical context and assigning tasks to relevant teams.

It’s important to avoid picking and running with something random from a list of meeting goals. Consider what the objectives and key results of this meeting are. What are you trying to achieve? What can you get done by bringing all of these attendees together?

We’ll provide some examples of meeting goals below. Use it to spark ideas, but remember—your own meeting goals should reflect the things you need to achieve with the people in attendance.

From there, you’ll need to know how to make a plan that leverages those goals to the fullest.

20 Examples of Meeting Goals and Specific Objectives

Here are 20 examples of meeting goals to give you an idea of what yours might look like:

  • Identify job candidates for [open position]
  • Identify potential risks for latest software migration
  • Identify bottlenecks in our development process
  • Review project status and discuss obstacles
  • Review and discuss the annual report
  • Review and approve post-mortem report on [project]
  • Review industry mergers and acquisitions
  • Review business revenue
  • Plan quarterly billing targets
  • Refine the job description for [open position]
  • Change performance metrics to [insert purpose]
  • Brainstorm ways to improve productivity
  • Brainstorm solutions to our most common customer complaint
  • Discuss overhead costs and potential reduction areas
  • Discuss current sales numbers and areas of improvement
  • Develop a marketing campaign schedule
  • Decide whether to switch vendors
  • Design a new UI flow for the company’s mobile app
  • Introduce newest client to the team
  • Present latest changes to the company’s organizational hierarchy

All 20 of these meeting goal examples are end-products of reflection on the actual meeting objective. Know what you need to accomplish with the meeting, use the SMART goal method, and you’re sure to come up with the right goal for your meeting.

4 Meeting Values for Better Goals

When considering your meeting goals, you may want to look at them through the lens of your overall team culture. Why have a meeting at all? Who should come?

These values will guide how you think about meetings, why you hold them, what you meet about, who attends, and what happens after every meeting. 

  1. Meeting scarcity over meeting abundance. 

Meetings are not free. They require time and focus—your team’s most valuable resources. 

  1. Thoughtful scheduling over broad invitations. 

Good meetings are intentional in a way that respects both your colleagues and their time. No one is in a meeting except for the people who must be there. And no meeting goes on longer than necessary.  

  1. Active discussion over mind-numbing presentation. 

Meetings are designed to be collaborative, not unilateral. Active discussion engages the entire room, generating significantly more value than dull, one-way presentations.

  1. Freely sharing over knowledge silos.

Meetings are a shared activity. Information from them and about them should be actively shared, even with people who did not participate in the meeting.

Great Meeting Goals at Work Lead to Great Outcomes

When you take time to create specific, relevant meeting goals, you set your team up for success. Have more effective meetings with clear goals that are included on your agenda. Need help? Check out How To Make a Meeting Agenda for tips and examples.

Free, 15-minute guide to shorter, fewer, better meetings.

Thank you! We've sent Vital Meetings to your email.
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
"My meetings have transformed."
—Nick Valuri, Zapier
Vital Meetings book cover
Vital Meetings
A methodology for amazing meetings. Say goodbye to boring, long, and unproductive meetings.
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Rob Lennon
Customer Education Lead at Hugo
Marketer and author with 18 years experience in retail and SaaS startups across healthcare, mar-tech, and ad-tech, and productivity software sectors.

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