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Why are we here?🤷‍♀️ How to state the purpose of a meeting
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Why are we here?🤷‍♀️ How to state the purpose of a meeting

The most important question is often never answered.

February 28, 2020
Darren Chait
Co-founder & COO at Hugo
Darren Chait is a co-founder of Hugo. Solving some of the pain around meetings is a cause close to Darren’s heart. Prior to founding Hugo, he was a lawyer at one of Australia’s largest law firms – he attended meetings for a living! Today, Darren regularly writes and speaks at leading events about trends in the way we work.

It may seem that a meeting’s purpose is self-evident.

Often the purpose is suggested by the meeting’s title. You might be thinking, “Duh! The meeting is called ‘Rob & Josh 1:1’. Its purpose is for Rob and Josh to talk to each other.”

But a purpose isn’t what something is. It is the reason for something to exist.

Watch this short video to learn more.

Transcript

Hey guys, Rob with Hugo here. Today, we're talking about the purpose of your meeting.

So you might think that the purpose of a meeting is self evident based on the title. If you've got a meeting, let's say it's titled a Rob Josh one-on-one, and you're like, "Oh yeah, the purpose of that meeting is for you guys to talk to each other. It's a one-on-one."

A purpose is not what a meeting is. It's why a meeting is.

So the, the purpose of a one-on-one is to check in on a happiness level or, you know, discuss workplace conflicts, provide feedback on management style, even, talk about career goals. So all of these things are the reason why we have one-on-ones.

It's, you know, having a one on one isn't in and of itself an amazing thing and must be do some of these things.

So I want to talk to you about just stating your purpose for every meeting upfront and clearly. Okay, so an easy test to know whether or not you've done a good job sitting. The purpose of the meeting is to, kind of like we do with goal setting, is to see if it's smart.

So S, M, A, R, T. Specific. Measurable. Attainable. Realistic. And Time-Bound. Let's just run through that real quick. So the first thing we need to do is make sure our meaningful is specific.

So let's say your goal is to share information. Okay. No, that's not specific enough. A specific goal is something like this.

Decide on the budget and venue for our next team retreat.

That is a very clear and specific thing that can be accomplished. And it, it's, there's no question as to what we're doing in this meeting.

Now, you might have a team meeting that's a little bit more complicated than that, you know, it may be even has a few different goals.

So like for a team meeting, discuss the week's most pressing topics, solve problems using our collective intelligence, prioritize and assign all tasks and maintain an open culture. So that's a, that's a pretty complicated purpose statement, but it also suggests why we even have that weekly meeting.

Okay, next up is measurable.

So this is usually a binary, yes or no. Are you able to say definitively, did we meet that goal or not? So going back to the example of sharing updates, there's no real way to know when that goal has been met or not. That could just kind of go on forever. But if we're going to share the most pressing topics, if we're going to assign all of our tasks, if we're going to do those things, then you can say, okay, well, we've talked about our top priorities and everything that needs to get done has an owner. We've met the goal of our meeting. It's time to move on.

The next two in this acronym to me are kind of the same thing. Attainable and realistic. So, can you meet the goal of your meeting during the meeting? So let's say your, your meeting goal is to make a decision, but you don't have all the data. You're, you're missing a key stakeholder that's not an attainable goal and you should reschedule that meeting or you should change the goal.

Realistic is likewise the same kind of thing. Although it has a little bit more to do with whether it's realistic to accomplish that in the time given.

If you were doing a job interview, you wouldn't just give 15 minutes to talk to a candidate. That's not long enough usually to get a sense of all the things that you need to know to, to figure out if you're going to hire somebody or not and you need to pair down the goal of your meeting to be reasonable given who's there, how much time you have and so forth.

Last one is T, Time-Bound. I'm that one's easy with meetings because all meetings have a start time and a stop time. I hope so. That's kind of built into the idea of meetings.

So there you guys go. Those are some tips on stating the purpose of your meeting. I recommend that you do this with every single meeting so that everybody knows why they've been invited and just put that in the meeting, invite in the meeting description, make sure it's right there in their calendar so there's no question as to what this meeting is about.

I'm Rob with Hugo. We do connected meeting notes software, and I'll catch you again soon.

(Outtakes)

So, so an easy test for whether or not your purpose is ...Purposefully, let's cut. Cut that. Cut. Cut, cut, cut. Cut. Spe-cific! Why exactly are we here?

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Darren Chait
Co-founder & COO at Hugo
Darren Chait is a co-founder of Hugo. Solving some of the pain around meetings is a cause close to Darren’s heart. Prior to founding Hugo, he was a lawyer at one of Australia’s largest law firms – he attended meetings for a living! Today, Darren regularly writes and speaks at leading events about trends in the way we work.

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