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.
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.
There are many ways to ensure that your team is set up for a successful meeting. Some possible goals for an effective meeting are:
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.
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.
Here are 20 examples of meeting goals to give you an idea of what yours might look like:
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.
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.
Meetings are not free. They require time and focus—your team’s most valuable resources.
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.
Meetings are designed to be collaborative, not unilateral. Active discussion engages the entire room, generating significantly more value than dull, one-way presentations.
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.
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.
How to set personal and professional SMART goals: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Bound.
Every meeting must have a goal, otherwise it'll be a waste of time.