How to set the purpose of a meeting

Determine and communicate the goals and objectives of the meeting in a clear, concise manner.

The primary purpose of a meeting is to provide a collaborative environment where participants can openly discuss, debate, and strategize about specific topics or issues to seek resolution, make decisions, or advance in a project. It facilitates mutual understanding and consensus-building, encourages idea-sharing and teamwork, and allows for real-time feedback and interaction. Additionally, meetings foster relationships, enhance communication, and help align individuals or teams with the organization’s goals and objectives. In essence, they are a vital communication tool in the workplace for planning, problem-solving, and progress tracking.

How to set the purpose of a meeting: Step-By-Step


Step 1: Define the Objective

The initial step in orchestrating a meeting is defining the clear purpose or objective. This could involve tasks like problem-solving, decision-making, strategizing, or simply exchanging information. Without a clear objective, meetings can often be unproductive, so ensuring everyone understands the purpose is vital for success.

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Step 2: Prepare the Meeting Agenda

Listing the topics for discussion during the meeting, along with the estimated time each topic will take and the person responsible for leading the discussion, ensures complete coverage of all necessary points. This also helps to keep the meeting focused, fostering effective communication, and promoting accountability amongst the team.

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Step 3: Allocate Roles

Defining roles such as who will lead the meeting, who will take notes, and who will keep track of time can greatly improve the efficiency of a meeting. Assigning specific tasks can provide structure, encourage active involvement from all participants, and ensure that the meeting progresses smoothly without any unnecessary interruptions or delays.


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Step 4: Determine Participants

Identifying relevant stakeholders or participants for a meeting is crucial. They should be individuals who are directly involved with the meeting’s objective and can provide valuable input. This might include decision-makers, project leads, team members, or external partners intimately engaged in the topic at hand.

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Step 5: Schedule the Meeting

To achieve maximum attendance and engagement during meetings, it is crucial to find a time and location that is convenient for all participants. This often requires working around various schedules and accommodating all attendees’ needs. With everyone comfortable and able to focus, the effectiveness and productivity of the meeting significantly increases.

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Step 6: Conduct the Meeting

Facilitating a meeting calls for a meticulous following of the agenda, ensuring the transient discussions stay aligned with discussion points, and assertive management of the allotted time. It is also highly essential to foster an environment conducive for active participation, promoting diverse viewpoints, lively interaction, and constructive disagreements, thereby leading to productive outcomes.


Setting the purpose of a meeting is a cardinal aspect that drives the productivity and success of any gathering. It serves as a compass to ensure that discussions and efforts channeled during the meeting are insightful, warranted and focused on the pre-determined objectives. It saves time, boosts participants’ motivation, and encourages everyone to come prepared. The process involves clear understanding of the meeting goal, aligning it with the organization’s objectives, involving stakeholders in purpose-setting and encapsulating it in an inviting agenda. So, the next time you plan a meeting, remember to purposefully pilot your meeting towards success.

Popular Questions

What is the purpose of a meeting?

The purpose of a meeting is to bring members of a team or organization together to communicate and discuss important issues, make decisions, solve problems, plan for the future, and improve performance.

Why is it important to have a clear purpose for a meeting?

A clear purpose helps to guide the agenda of the meeting, keep the discussion focused, and ensures that the meeting’s objectives are achieved. It also helps participants understand why they are attending and what they need to prepare.

Can a meeting serve more than one purpose?

Yes, a meeting can serve multiple purposes. For instance, a team meeting might have the purpose of providing updates, building team cohesion, and brainstorming new ideas. However, it’s important to keep the meeting focused and well-organized to avoid confusion.

How can a meeting's purpose be communicated to participants?

Typically, the purpose of a meeting is articulated in the meeting invitation and the agenda, which are sent to participants ahead of time. The meeting facilitator also commonly reiterates the purpose at the beginning of the meeting.

What happens if a meeting does not have a clear purpose?

A meeting without a clear purpose can lose focus and efficiency, as participants might not know what’s expected of them or what the meeting is meant to achieve. This can lead to lengthy discussions that don’t result in meaningful action or decision-making.