Laura Vanderkam is the author of several time management books including Off the Clock and 168 Hours. In this Medium piece, she shares the question that she asks before calling a meeting:

What crucial change will result from bringing people together, that could not have happened otherwise?

We would slightly modify this question and combine it with a rule of threes:

  1. What is the purpose of the meeting?
  2. What is the goal?
  3. What is the agenda?

If you can’t write a purpose statement for the meeting (which dovetails nicely to answer Laura’s question), then it probably shouldn’t happen.

If you can’t write a goal statement for the meeting (effectively, boiling down the anticipated decision outcome from bringing a group of people together), then it probably shouldn’t happen.

And finally, if you don’t have an agenda, you shouldn’t host a meeting, and as an attendee, you shouldn’t accept a meeting invite that lacks on. We’ve now analyzed close to 30,000 meetings with two or more people, and fewer than 6% of them have an agenda. That’s why we launched our Chrome extension, packed with 32 curated agenda templates across 9 different meeting types, to help meeting organizers thrive.

There is so much room for growth and meeting nirvana with small changes to our meeting habits.