Are you a team leader who organizes meetings on a regular basis? Do you find it difficult to come up with ideas that make your meetings more dynamic and less tiresome? Sometimes, as meeting leaders, we find ourselves in a maze of schedules, issues, tension and individuals that complicate our ability to get things done with our working groups.
Therefore, it is very important to establish good objectives for the meeting, so that we can structure our ideas and thoughts, and save time for the rest of the participants. Below you will find some of the key points you need to consider for writing clear and effective meeting objectives.
- The objectives of your meeting should simply, clearly, and concisely summarize what you want to achieve in your meeting. They should also be realistic and measurable.
- It is also important to establish ways of monitoring the achievement of the objectives. This is done by establishing different methods to measure performance and determine whether the objectives have been met.
- Writing objectives has many benefits for the functioning of the whole team and its meetings, e.g. better structuring and improved atmosphere, or avoiding unnecessary time-wasting.
What you should know about meeting objectives
Although there is no difficulty in knowing what an objective is, it is not unusual to have doubts about the objectives of the meeting, in particular. For this reason, we will try to clear some of them up.
What are meeting objectives?
Meeting objectives are written statements specifying the desired or expected outcomes of a work meeting. Typically, objectives are intended to increase the productivity of meetings and make them as effective and efficient as possible. Thus, there are different categories of objectives, which can be seen below (1).
Read more about effective meetings.
What are the benefits of setting meeting objectives?
Setting quality objectives can bring many benefits to your meetings. Here are some examples of how well-planned objectives can help you improve the quality and efficiency of your meetings.
- They help define your goals: To achieve this, you should reflect on what you really want to achieve as a leader and what problems you need to solve to get there.
- They structure the meetings: The objectives, although they do not always coincide with the points of the day, can also be guides to follow so that your meetings have a common thread and are not tiresome. Read more about structured meetings.
- They improve the climate of meetings: Good planning objectives can foster a group-oriented atmosphere. It also acts as a generator of ideas around certain discussion topics and provides reassurance to all members of the group (2).
- Saves meeting time: Sometimes, meetings can become very time-consuming. Planning objectives, and meeting them, can get the group to the point and discuss what is critical.
- Measure your results: Objectives can provide you with ways to measure your results, so you can determine whether a meeting went better or worse than expected.
What do we need to consider to set clear objectives?
Once you know the benefits of setting objectives properly and before knowing how to write them, it is important to consider different aspects that directly influence the quality of your objectives. So, before writing them, you should think about the following elements (3).
- Action: Objectives should include an action to be taken, which is part of achieving the purpose for which they are written. It is critical that your purpose and your will be represented within the wording of the objective.
- Clarity and simplicity: The simpler and more straightforward the action, the better it will be understood and the more likely it will be followed to the letter.
- Problem: Every objective must have a justification for its existence. Therefore, it is important that you reflect on the problem or motivation behind the wording of the objective.
- Goal: The objective itself must have a goal. That is, you must analyze where you are trying to get to with the objective and whether it is really written to fulfill this desire.
How should we write the objectives of the meeting?
It is clear that there are many ways to organize and lead a team. Therefore, every manager has his or her own way of doing things and, consequently, of writing objectives. However, if you have never tried it, here are some steps that can help you for your first time writing meeting objectives:
- Identify the results you want to achieve: Try to write down on a piece of paper what you want to achieve with the meeting, and look for the main objective.
- Use clear and concise words (4): The objectives must be precise. Try to use simple language and summarize in one sentence what is essential.
- Make the objective achievable: Use action words, verbs and other expressions that make your team visualize what you intend to achieve.
- Mention the benefits of achieving the objective: Make the group aware of the importance of meeting the objective, to promote motivation and commitment from all participants.
- Determine how to measure your results: Try to make your objectives quantifiable and add the time aspect for performance measurement in the meeting.
- Share your objectives: Communicate them to your team about 24 hours before the meeting so that they are more committed to achieving those goals.
How can we measure the degree of compliance with the proposed objectives?
It is significant that the objectives we set can be measured in one way or another. When we think that we should measure something, we always assume that we are referring to something quantitative, i.e., related to numbers. However, meeting objectives can be measured in many ways.
Many communication experts have developed models for measuring communication effectiveness.
This would be a good way of calculating whether our meeting partners have received the information adequately or whether the exchange has been fruitful. For example, the model of communicative thresholds establishes different degrees of communicative effectiveness depending on factors such as reception, intelligibility, internal change or passage to action (5).
What are the threats to the fulfillment of objectives?
Planning objectives in meetings is a widespread task in the business world. However, an increasing number of experts believe that, in general, management by objectives is becoming obsolete (6).
Today, new forms of leadership are emerging that can be applied to meetings.
Objectives can be managed and applied in different ways and at different times. However, we also find companies (mostly startups) where it is common to have follow-up meetings, in which the team can intervene to talk about almost any topic. In addition, there are even work meetings with no purpose or objective, just to spend time together.
Are the purpose of the meeting and the objectives of the meeting the same thing?
The purpose of the meeting and its objectives are two totally different concepts. It is true that both share the fact that they refer to the content of the meeting.
However, the purpose of the meeting refers to the object of the meeting itself, a little more related to the subject matter of the meeting. On the other hand, the objectives are concrete goals that the organizer (generally) wishes to achieve at the end of the meeting. To make it clearer, here are some of the main differences.
|Established and communicated before the meeting||Established after the purpose and need not be communicated|
|Broad and general||Precise|
|Intangible and abstract||Tangible and concrete|
|Does not have to be measured||Measurable, either quantitatively or qualitatively|
how can we adapt the fulfillment of meeting objectives to the current reality?
Nowadays, it is increasingly common for business meetings to be held virtually. This implies a series of changes for those in charge of the meeting, to guarantee the fulfillment of objectives. Thus, these transformations must be made in accordance with the advantages and disadvantages provided by the online environment for conducting meetings, to make them as efficient as possible (7).
- Promotes continuity
- Improves communication between the different components of the group
- Gives autonomy
- Saves space, time and money
- Encourages individualism
- It puts obstacles in the way of collaboration and coordination
- Can become invasive to the privacy of group members
In short, considering aspects such as simplicity, time or different forms of communication will help you draft good meeting objectives. In addition, it is important that you take into account the different realities of life today, as well as the possible threats that may affect the achievement of your objectives.
After all, writing good meeting objectives will only energize your workgroup meetings and foster a good atmosphere among colleagues. It will also help your business and make all participants feel motivated to bring your company to a successful conclusion together.
1. Standaert W, Muylle S, Basu A. How shall we meet? Understanding the importance of meeting mode capabilities for different meeting objectives. Information & Management, 2021 [17 Sep 2022]; 58 (1): 103393.
2. Martínez Guillén MDC. Administración y planificación del tiempo: La gestión empresarial. Madrid, Spain: Ediciones Díaz de Santos; 2012.
3. Flores Villarroel C. Problem, objectives and justification. Cochabamba, Bolivia: Universidad Mayor de San Simón; 2010 [20 Sep 2022].
4. Ramos Real E. Methodology of strategic planning. Lessons of rural development: a formative approach from and for Castilla-La Mancha, 2001 [17 Sep 2022]. University of Castilla-La Mancha; 153-158.
5. Badajoz D, Rodríguez A. How to measure communicative effectiveness? The model of communicative thresholds. In: Tejero B, Bernard O, Lechuga C. Researching in cutting-edge content. Madrid, Spain: Editorial Gedisa, S.A.; 2018. 29-43.
6. Roth WF. Is management by objectives obsolete? Global Business and Organizational Excellence, 2009 [14 Sep 2022]; 28 (4): 36-43.
7. Cardona P, Wilkinson H. Teamwork. IESE Business School, 2006 [14 Sep 2022]; 3: 1-8