Defining purpose of meetings can improve effectiveness

By following one of the four purposes for business meetings, leaders can spend meeting time more effectively and deliver greater clarity on the issues at hand.

That’s the sage advice handed down by strategy guru Ryan L. Sievers, writing for, who believes meeting organisers need to be more efficient with their time.

As a result, Sievers has outlined four guiding purposes for a business meeting: learn/brainstorm, inform/explain, discuss/engage and decide/conclude.

“Defining these purposes is intended to provide a simple way to frame up a meeting at the outset to be productive and reach a basic objective,” claims Sievers, cited by “The purpose of the meeting must be communicated in advance to all of the participants in order to properly set expectations of and for the participants.”

For instance, a learn/brainstorm-orientated meeting is designed to be exploratory and collaborative for all involved. On the other hand, booking conference space for a inform/explain meeting suggests the meeting leader will be primarily delivering information such as an update or result – explanatory rather than exploratory.

Furthermore, discuss/engage meetings involve refining an idea, plan or issue while decide/conclude meetings involve an element of committal on a ‘specific and defined’ agenda.

“Every meeting should be set up with one of the high-level purposes and driven to reach that single goal,” adds Sievers.