Is This Meeting Necessary
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:
- You want information that the members can provide and the information needs to be shared or cross-checked in real time.
- You have information to communicate and need to emphasize the importance of the task or gauge people’s response to the information.
- You have a decision to make or problem to solve, and the group collectively has the authority or capability to resolve the issue.
- An issue needs face-to-face clarification because it is too sensitive or complex to handle in another setting.
- The group desires a meeting and you agree it is necessary.
- 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:
- You really need to deal with an individual one-on-one to get their agreement and commitment.
- The information could be communicated better by telephone or email.
- A simple poll would get you the information you need.
- The subject matter is so confidential or sensitive that it should not be shared with some group members.
- Your mind is made up, and you have already reached a decision (unless you want to announce and explain your decision).
- The current task is not very important to those who would be involved.
- There is too much division in the group, and fence-mending needs to occur before assembling the group.
- The group lacks the information or authority to address the issue at hand.
- 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).