Why are we doing this?
I know of a company that set up a task force for an urgent problem. The president of the company gathered all his top managers and many next level people who had a stake in the issue. Ten people met daily for two hours or more. They dealt swiftly with the urgent problem, but the president liked the forum so much that he kept it going for months. Thousands of dollars in people hours were spent because the executive found it convenient to get his information this way.
Do we have the right people there?
Often the people who are available to meet may not have the information they need to make a decision, or the authority to do so. Other times people who have a stake in the issue are left out. If there’s a higher level manager that you know will have an opinion make sure he or she is included.
Is a meeting the most effective way to accomplish this purpose?
Say you have a weekly staff meeting. You meet every week because why? Because it’s 7:30 Monday morning? If the purpose isn’t clear then think about it. Do you really need to meet or could you handle it in an email or some other method?
When the purpose gets lost or misunderstood by the participants then the meeting is doomed. Clearly stating the reason we’re here gets things in focus and off to the right start.