Planning Meetings With A Purpose

Planning Meetings That Matter

Have you been in a meeting where you squirmed in your seat and thought, “Why am I here?”

Right!  Who hasn’t?  Painful, isn’t it?

To plan meetings that matter for your next school year, ask yourself these two questions about each event:

  • Why are we having this event?
  • What do we want to do differently after our event?

Why are we having this event?

As we plan events, as school leaders we need to be clear on why we are hosting an event, from staff meetings, parent education meetings, teacher evaluations, school socials and more.

A staff meeting? Why? What’s the purpose?

At first glance, this seems like a trivial question. 

Our initial response may simply be, “Why? Because we need to have a staff meeting.”

That answer only addresses the “what” of the meeting.

Why do need to have a staff meeting?

Perhaps looking deeper we realize that the purpose of our staff meeting may be to:

  • Share new ideas
  • Define problems and resolve current issues 
  • Create community among staff members
  • Make personal connections among staff members
  • Provide professional development

Let’s consider a process of how we might move from the what to the why of our staff meeting. 

First question: Why are we having a staff meeting?

Because we always have staff meeting the first Wednesday of every month.

Second question: Why do we have staff meeting every month?

Because we like to get together to share new ideas, identify and resolve problems, nurture professional growth, having time to catch up with others, and create community. 

(We are getting closer to why!)

Third question: And why is all that important?

Because it makes our school a great place to work and fosters a sense of community.

Fourth question: And why is that important.

Because we want to create a place that values our children and foster a community that acts as a help to life. 

Bingo! We found our deeper purpose of have staff meetings by asking why a few times until we uncovered  core values of our organization.

Planning Meetings That Matter

What do we want to do differently after our staff meeting?

In her book, The Art of Gathering: How we meet and why it matters, Priya Parker suggest that you “reverse engineer” your meeting by starting with this question:

What is your desired outcome for this meeting?

If the desired outcome is to share ideas, how do you know when you’ve meet with success?

This success, of course, varies organization to organization, desired outcome by desired outcome. 

Is success defined as everyone sharing an idea? The number of ideas shared? The number of ideas implemented? The number of handouts given?

Have a way to measure success by being clear on your desired outcome.

Your invitation to the staff meeting becomes one that states the purpose and the desired outcome.

For our August staff meeting please come prepared to share a song, a craft idea, or an outdoor activity.  You’ll have five minutes to share your idea.  Bring a one-page handout to share with all 12 of us.  Let’s ring in the new school year with some fresh activities and a booklet of handouts to help us be on top of our game of engaging children in meaningful activities. 

Create meetings that matter by taking the time to ask and understand:

  • Why are we having this event?
  • What do we want to do differently after our event?

My hope is with a bit of targeted planning your meetings will have everyone sitting on the edge of their seat, glad that they came.

To help you create meetings that matter, download your quick planner here.

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