Meetings take up a lot of my time. Probably second only to travelling to and from them. And so whenever I read some tips on how to make them work better, I’m always intrigued. Today I came across a post from that had one tip I hadn’t encountered (or hadn’t noticed in any meetings I’ve been in) before.

Here’s the killer excerpt: All meetings have to have a clear objective, right? If you haven’t heard this before you’ve been living under a rock! But just setting a topic isn’t enough. Something like, “Discuss the Palliser Exploration Program,” isn’t results-oriented and won’t create the necessary level of focus.

The Outcome Statement should be used when planning and starting any meeting. It says that every meeting should begin with an unmistakable commitment, such as, “By the time we leave this meeting we will have . . . ” This approach gets everyone on the same page. It also provides for a ready evaluation at the meeting’s end, when we ask, “Did we achieve what we set out to?”

So, next time I’m in a meeting with you, be prepared to hear me pipe up with “What do you hope to achieve at the end of this meeting?”