Key Questions to Plan a Meeting

Greg Strand – May 23, 2012 Leave a comment

Christopher J Frank, “The 4-Question Meeting: You Can’t Be Brilliant Alone,” Forbes (May 5, 2012): http://www.forbes.com/sites/christopherfrank/2012/05/05/the-4-question-meeting-you-cant-be-brilliant-alone/

Though this is not a distinctly Christian post, Frank provides some helpful guidelines for planning a fruitful meeting. He argues that meetings are part of work life.  Because they include numerous people, they are also very costly. It is important to plan so they are fruitful and have value.

Well-organized meetings have real value.  They stimulate dialogue, create fresh thinking and move the business forward. The discipline to conduct them effectively must be developed as a core competency of your team. The question is… given the resource impact and cost, how can you quickly improve the probability of having a successful, productive meeting?

A successful meeting ensures the right people are invited and the material is presented as effectively and judiciously as possible. It is respectful of your time and enables you to contribute in a meaningful way or makes you smarter. Too often this is the exception than the norm, which put me on a quest to identify a quick process to improve the odds.

The answer lies in asking four questions.

1. What is the purpose — decision, information sharing or
     brainstorming?
2. What is the issue…in five words or less?
3. Who has already weighed in and what did they have to say
     about it?
4. What will surprise me in this meeting?

Meetings are also part of our lives as pastors. What can we do in our planning of those meetings to be more focused, strategic and purposeful? What is necessary to do prior to the meeting, what is important for attendees of the meeting to know and materials to have so that all can be prepared to contribute to the meeting?

A few thoughts to consider.

Greg Strand

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Affectionately called “Walking Bible” by his youngest daughter, Greg Strand has a ministry history that goes back to 1982. Since that time, he has served in local church ministry in a variety of ministry capacities: youth pastor, associate pastor of adult ministries and senior pastor. He is currently the EFCA's Executive Director of Theology and Credentialing. Greg reads voraciously and never stops learning — a passion reflected in the overflowing bookshelves that spill from his library to multiple offices. And he could tell you about each of those books! His hunger for learning pales in contrast to his great love for God and for teaching the Word of God.

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