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Meetings are good tools for communication and group building, but also costly in terms of faculty time and effort, so it is a good idea to call meetings only when necessary. Some issues can only be worked out in a group setting, so holding a meeting is sometimes essential to achieving consensus and a collective sense of ownership of the decision. For these reasons, faculty leaders need to think carefully about when to call meetings.

Calling a meeting is a good idea when:

  1. You want information that the members can provide and the information needs to be shared or cross-checked in real time.
  2. You have information to communicate and need to emphasize the importance of the task or gauge people’s response to the information.
  3. You have a decision to make or problem to solve, and the group collectively has the authority or capability to resolve the issue.
  4. An issue needs face-to-face clarification because it is too sensitive or complex to handle in another setting.
  5. The group desires a meeting and you agree it is necessary.
  6. The group meets regularly, and having that continuity is important for group identity, cohesiveness, and retaining membership.

Calling a meeting is a bad idea when:

  1. You really need to deal with an individual one-on-one to get their agreement and commitment.
  2. The information could be communicated better by telephone or email.
  3. A simple poll would get you the information you need.
  4. The subject matter is so confidential or sensitive that it should not be shared with some group members.
  5. Your mind is made up, and you have already reached a decision (unless you want to announce and explain your decision).
  6. The current task is not very important to those who would be involved.
  7. There is too much division in the group, and fence-mending needs to occur before assembling the group.
  8. The group lacks the information or authority to address the issue at hand.
  9. The academic calendar indicates that most faculty will be preoccupied at this time (e.g., grading exams or preparing for the first week of classes).