Once you have a clear and achievable goal for the meeting How to Prepare for a Meeting: Steps #1 & 2 that is in line with the organization’s vision and mission, and you’ve chosen the appropriate type of meeting, selecting the right participants ought to be easy! Sadly, it’s not. You owe favors, others owe you favors, and some people are easily offended–either by being invited to meetings or by not being invited.
Step #3: Selecting Participants
People feel like they are involved in way too many meetings, and yet if they are not invited they feel bad. I liken this Catch 22 to a joke Jerry Seinfeld tells about wedding planning: parents of the wedding couple fight to expand the guest list so that their friends aren’t hurt about not being invited, and, upon receiving the invite, these same friends of the parents grouse about having to spend $200 on a gift and losing a Saturday.
If you over-invite, the costs are high: too many people talking, a watered-down mix of expertise and stakeholders, and increased loss of work hours to the organization. The cost of having people feel slighted may be even higher, however. Thankfully, it doesn’t have to be an either/or scenario. Approach those who don’t absolutely need to be at the meeting directly. Give them an option, so they can back out without feeling slighted. They will likely appreciate the opportunity to bow out. They may, in fact, feel like they owe you a favor.
In the next post in this series, we will discuss how to schedule and structure the meeting.