Do you hate shopping? Whether it’s the groceries or shopping for clothes, I am usually a reluctant shopper. Some people feel the same about a meeting! Going along reluctantly and not really sure what they will get out of it.

Other meetings can be great fun! Like shopping in the Sales. Everyone is in a good mood, chatting and laughing, but when you walk away have you really bought anything useful?

For me, shopping trips must have a purpose, either to buy (eg clothes or groceries), or for larger scale items (car, lounge, house) just to find out information. In the same way you can make sure your meetings always have a purpose.

An agenda may keep a meeting on track, but being clear what you need to get out of the meeting is even more important. Is it to communicate important information, or to solve a problem? The outputs from these different meetings will be very different.

Have you ever done the grocery shopping without a list? It takes much longer, you buy more than you planned, but so often forget the essential item and have to go back! Before your next meeting try writing a Meeting Shopping List so everyone is clear on the purpose of the meeting and the desired outputs, and then the agenda items to be covered.