Order How to Lead an Effective Meeting (and get the results you want) now!

To lead an effective meeting, you must be crystal clear about what you want to achieve. No one will understand your objectives unless you do. You have to demand ruthless clarity. The person with whom you have to be ruthless is yourself.

Write down the purpose of the meeting. Look at what you have written. Is that what you want to accomplish?

Then ask yourself, how will you know that you did that? These are your intended results.

Sometimes the intended result is inherent in the purpose. For instance, if the purpose of your meeting is to:

  • Review the proposals submitted by three caterers and select a caterer for the reception

then your intended result is implicit. If at the end of your meeting you have selected a caterer, you have achieved the purpose of your meeting.

If, however, the purpose of your meeting is to:

  • Plan the New Students Reception

Watch out. What exactly do you want to achieve in the meeting? Brainstorming a potential location and themes? Or do you want to select a location and theme? Do you want to leave the meeting with ideas for a menu? Or do you want to select a menu? Do you want to simply hear ideas, or do you want action?

If your preference is action, you might couple your meeting purpose of “Plan the New Students Reception” with some or all of these Intended Results:

  • Identify a venue
  • Select a theme
  • Select the menu
  • Pick a caterer
  • Establish how we will invite people and when

Clarity and specificity are key here. We may think we know what we want, but when asked to state what we want, we may find we can’t readily do that. Alternatively, we may have a clear idea of what we want to achieve, but no one else will unless we state our objectives succinctly and specifically. Here, written repetition helps a lot.

Draft your initial statement of the purpose of your meeting. Put aside what you have written, go off and do something unrelated, come back in a few hours or the next day and reread what you have written. When I do this, I am often surprised, because what I thought was very clear actually isn’t when I reread it. You will likely see ways to sharpen or clarify what you actually intend when you focus on what you want to achieve. Multiple iterations are not only likely; they are desirable.

Don’t be in a rush to articulate your purpose. Slow down now so that you can speed up later. The meeting purpose is like the trajectory of a rocket. If you want a rocket to land on the moon, it is best to be precise about calibrating its direction. It is not a good idea to aim the rocket for outer space and hope for the best. The same holds true for your meeting purpose. Arguably the best way to make sure a meeting fails is to have a vague meeting purpose or worse, no meeting purpose.

Learn More »

Order How to Lead an Effective Meeting (and get the results you want) now!

I wanted to let you know personally it was the most effective training I have ever had at Deloitte and it was just session 1!!! Thanks to you and the team as well as to Miriam and hers who has put together such a thoughtful / outstanding program.

Partner, Tax Management Consulting
Deloitte Tax LLP

I really valued the time that we spent together and wanted to let you know that your impact on my career will not be forgotten. I especially appreciate the safe place to speak my mind and your honest feedback and thoughts. Your ability to take my sometimes incoherent and not politically correct thoughts and turn them into golden nuggets was invaluable.”

Nicole Torgrimson
Director of Operations, Audit
Deloitte Calgary

I can’t thank you enough for all of your support over the past few years. This would not have happened without you. Your influence has changed the course of history for PREI.”

Cathy Marcus
Senior Portfolio Manager, Managing Director, PRISA

Your experience, insights, and support have been very helpful and greatly appreciated. Thank you for helping me meet my goal of getting the most I possibly can out of the NextGen program.”

Louis Ramunno
National Managing Principal
Deloitte Tax LLP

Unquestionably the single most intelligent and insightful PowerPoint of the past ten years!”

Ennio Ranaboldo
CEO/Executive Vice President
Lavazza USA

Meritas caused me to pause and step back from the rigor of day-to-day and reflect on some larger connections.”

Global Lead Client Service Partner

Meritas Partners’ experience with boards provided me with much needed insight and guidance.”

Laura Hamilton
MTS Systems

The team at Meritas Partners was instrumental in guiding us through this process. None of us had ever done anything like it before (think deer in headlights), but now this notion of “self-help” has really been woven into the fabric of who we are and how we go about our business.”

Soultana P. Reigle
Prudential Real Estate Investors
Parsippany, NJ

For a whole group to take the time to critique another person turned out to be… a gift for which I am very grateful, and one that I fully intend to pass on.”

Georg von Werz
CEO, AG Business

Meritas focuses on my strengths and how to leverage them, as well as on where I need to improve. Meritas is genuinely interested in my success.”

Ivan Tornos
President, Europe, Middle-East and Africa Regions
EMEA Division