Defining the Purpose of a meeting replies to the question ‘Why are we having this meeting’. Hence, the Purpose of a meeting might be, for example, ‘to discuss the proposal for on-site support changes’.
The distinction between ‘objectives’, ‘purpose’ and ‘goals’ is important. My objectives are private (hence My objectives). They are to be prepared in advance of the meeting, in collaboration with the appropriate colleagues. They may well include statements about my clients, and hence they are not intended for them to see. ‘We will try to get the client to accept a reduced level of on-site support’ is not something that I would announce at the beginning of a meeting, for example.
Purpose and Goals, on the other hand, are public. They are for discussion at the start of the encounter.
In contrast to the ‘Why’ associate with a Purpose, Goals answers ‘What will we achieve by the end of this meeting?’ Hence, the Goals of the meeting which has the Purpose ‘to discuss the proposal for on-site support changes’ might be: ‘(1) agree on a list of points for which on-site support is essential, (2) agree on points where remote support is acceptable, (3) identify people outside the meeting affected by this issue, (4) set a date for a teleconference to discuss an updated proposal.’
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