How To Set Actionable Meeting Goals In 5 Steps - Take Meeting Productivity To The Next Level

How To Set Actionable Meeting Goals In 5 Steps - Take Meeting Productivity To The Next Level

Michael DamMay 14, 20224 mins
What are meeting goals?

Setting a goal for your meeting keeps discussions on track and makes it easy to spot irrelevant topics.

Over several months, this saves hundreds of hours. Feel free to use this extra time to develop your product, better the customer experience, and optimize marketing strategy.

In this post, we have included the importance and the different types of meeting goals, and how to set one for your team conference.

What are meeting goals?

Team meeting objectives are a list of items you should cover during a meeting.

Depending on your team, you could have multiple smaller meeting goals or one sizable target that everyone's working towards.

So it’s advisable to jot down meeting objectives into your agenda template. Teammates can work together to reach these targets, and if something unimportant pops up, write it in the side column and get back to it after you've reached your goals.

The importance of meeting goals

‍Setting objectives are essential when running a team meeting because:

  • It keeps your meeting on track

  • It boosts productivity

  • It lowers costs of meetings

It keeps your meetings on track

The biggest advantage to setting meeting objectives is that everyone's on the same page and focused on achieving two or three specific goals.

Most meetings waste precious hours you could've been spending on your craft.

But when you have a predetermined meeting purpose, everyone can prepare and side discussions are easy to spot.

It boosts productivity

Because everybody is focused on just a few goals, team members can get more done, and communicate information within a shorter time frame.

For example, if your competition spends two hours talking about sales performance, you might be able to cover the same points in 30 minutes using meeting goals. This gives employees more time to sell and learn about persuasion.

Over several months and years, you’re saving hundreds of hours.

It lowers costs of meetings

Meetings are surprisingly expensive. Research shows companies in the United States spend over $37 billion per year on team meetings.

But there are also hidden fees to watch out for. Let's say the average salesperson brings in $50 per hour. If your weekly meetings are two hours long and only one hour is productive, you're spending $2,600 a year per salesperson. If you're employing six salespeople, that's over $15,000 per year. 

Fortunately, a meeting goal lowers this cost, giving you more money to scale your business and empower your team.

3 types of meeting goals

These are the three most common forms of team meeting goals:

  1. Review and feedback goals

  2. Decision-making goals

  3. Relationship building goals‍

Review and feedback goals

With this meeting objective, you review team performance and offer feedback to help members improve.

If you're sitting down with marketers and looking through their figures, a relevant goal could be finding one or two areas for improvement and offering advice. By doing this once a month, your team is constantly tailoring marketing campaigns.

A practical review and feedback goal could be, “In this meeting, we aim to review the performance of our marketing team, find areas for improvement, and provide actionable feedback that’ll allow for growth.”

Decision-making goals

The next type of meeting goal is decision-based objectives. These meetings occur when critical decisions need to be made, and stakeholders must mutually agree on one decision.

For example, if a high-ranking company leader like the CTO or CMO quits, you'll need to meet with stakeholders to find the best way forward. This involves reviewing a list of potential replacements and deciding on the best candidate.

Here’s an example of a common meeting goal: “Our primary objective is to understand what led (CTO’s name) to quit, how we can find a qualified replacement quickly, and methods that’ll help retain them for years or decades.”

Relationship-building goals

The final form of meeting objectives is relationship-building goals. In this meeting, you'll sit down with clients or employees, and aim to take your relationship to the next level.

For instance, your team can hold QBR or quarterly business reviews where you meet with customers, gather constructive criticism, and develop your product using this feedback.

This type of meeting goal shows clients you care, deepening your relationship.

It's also common to meet with employees and find out how you can improve the working environment. This feedback allows you to better team members' lives and lower turnover.

If you’re short on ideas, consider a meeting objective like, “We want to gain a deeper understanding of customer goals, ask for constructive criticism, review KPIs, and discuss product development progress.”

Now let's learn how to set practical meeting goals.

3 meeting goals examples

If you're short on ideas, use these three examples to inspire your meeting objectives.

Human resources meeting example

If you're in the process of hiring employees and you're sitting down with your team to lower the number of potential candidates, consider this template:

"Our meeting objective is to reduce the current pool of applicants down to three, so we can set up interviews with them next week."

QBR meeting example

This example works well if you're hosting a video call with clients to gather feedback about your product.

"Our primary goal for this session is to find areas where our product is lacking so we can focus development on the correct features."

Performance review meeting example

But if you're meeting with management to make decisions regarding performance, use this template:

"Our meeting goal is to identify areas for improvement and assign learning material to individuals so we can get better as a team."

How to set effective meeting goals in 5 steps

Here's how to set meeting objectives in five simple steps:

  1. Identify your desired outcome

  2. Summarize your meeting objectives clearly

  3. Ensure your goals are actionable

  4. Share team objectives with members

  5. Measure your progress

Step 1: Identify your desired outcome

The first step is to think about why you're running this team meeting and the optimal results you’re trying to achieve.

To record desired outcomes, you could jot it down on paper or type it directly into your meeting template.

But when you're identifying meeting objectives, it's important to avoid using financial performance because it’s a result of sales and marketing operations. Most people also don't relate to financial goals well.

Instead of making your goal a specific sales figure, aim to provide salespeople with the feedback and knowledge needed to reach this number.

Step 2: Summarize your meeting objectives clearly

Next, summarize your meeting purpose into one or two sentences, so it's easy to understand.

For example, if you're running a QBR meeting, your goal could be:

"During this session, we aim to receive feedback on what our product is doing well and how we can improve the customer experience."

This one sentence tells your client everything they need to know, and they'll be able to gather a list of modifications you can make to your product.

Step 3: Ensure meeting objectives are actionable

Although your goals shouldn’t be too easy, avoid setting intimidating objectives. This puts stress on participants and results in meetings that aren't actionable.

Instead, break your goal into bite-sized pieces that members can achieve within a few minutes. 

For instance, rather than creating a goal like outsourcing the work of an entire project, identify each step and assign these smaller goals to participants.

Step 4: Share your team objectives with members

Once you've summarized your meeting goals and ensured they're actionable, it's time to share them with team members. Do this at least 24 hours before the meeting since it gives everyone a chance to prepare.

For example, if you forward a plan to your team with objectives that say you want to create three digital posters for a client's new product, employees can brainstorm in their free time and design potential posters.

Step 5: Measure your progress

The last step is measuring progress towards team goals. This lets you understand if meetings are productive and where to improve.

If you're reviewing your team's performance, your goal could be to provide feedback on three key areas that'll allow members to boost work quality. If you fail to reach your goals regularly, assess areas of meetings that are taking up time. Maybe your introductions are too long, or the Q&A sessions tend to drag out.

By measuring progress, you optimize meeting operations and get more done in less time.

With tools like Airgram, you can create a schedule and set timers for each subtopic. If a specific discussion is taking too long, the Airgram timer notifies you so you know when to move on.

Final thoughts

Setting goals plays a critical part in running productive and time-efficient meetings. It highlights the importance of the session while allowing members to prepare.

‍So if you're looking to optimize meeting productivity and engagement, consider this five-step process. And if you need some inspiration, copy and paste the three example templates listed above.

Michael Dam

Michael started his career as a product manager and then developed a passion for writing. He has been writing on technology, remote working, productivity, etc., hoping to share his thoughts with more people.

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