In any business setting, meetings are inevitable. More times than not, the people required to attend these meetings, view them with dread. Maybe it's because they run on too long, because there is no clear reason for the meeting to take place or perhaps nothing ever seems to get solved by these meetings. They are clearly not meeting the five Ps of effective meetings: purpose, product, participants, probable issues and process.
A meeting's purpose is defined as the reason the meeting needs to be held, the agenda or the key objectives that need to be discussed by the attendees. If there are no issues to be discussed then there is no reason to call a meeting. Meetings with no clear purpose are a waste of everyone's time.
The product of a meeting describes the desired outcome that should be achieved when everything is said and done. This is not just the desired outcome of the meeting, but also the desired outcomes of any future company projects and merchandise that are discussed during the meeting. Stating the meeting's product up front keeps meetings on track, keeps conversations from straying into subjects that don't meet the meeting's purpose.
Meeting participants include only those people who need to be involved, the people who's viewpoints or jobs directly affects the purpose and product of the meeting. For instance, hospital medical staff would not be participants in a meeting about the hospital computer systems. The nurses and doctors would, however, participate in meetings involving health and disease issues or meetings that will help them get the Continuing Education Units, CEUs, required to keep their licenses up to date.
The probable issues are the concerns that are likely to arise among the participants, the problems they see with the current state of the items on the agenda or any problems they foresee with potential solutions brought up during the meeting. Probable issues also include catching any mistakes that may have escaped notice during preparations for the meeting. For instance, someone is giving a presentation on possible solutions to the problems listed in the agenda. Someone in the meeting may notice that one or two facts are missing, and that these facts may end up having a profound effect on the outcome of the meeting, or the solution. The issues may be a problem with the cost of a project or the time involved in completing a project.
The meeting process includes the steps required to keep the meeting on track and achieve the meetings purpose. It could also include creating a plan for achieving the future projects and merchandise to keep them on track toward completion. Having the process listed in steps ahead of time allows everyone involved a way of making sure that they are achieving the purpose and outcome of the meeting, project or merchandising. It's a means of following the progress of the meeting.
Joan Whetzel has been writing professionally since 1998. She has written juvenile nonfiction, movie and television scripts and adult nonfiction. Her juvenile nonfiction has appeared in such magazines as "Tech Directions," "Connect" and "Class Act." She was part of the production team that produced the documentary "Fuel for Thought" on Houston PBS. She has also written articles for Katy Magazine Online.