Meeting Objectives

Purpose and Objectives 

The Purpose of the meeting is the reason the meeting is being held. The reason must be acceptable to both the organizing body and the potential attendees.

Meeting objectives, those objectives that affect the planning process, not the content of the meeting and its various sessions, are important to consider. 

Consider why the purpose and objectives must be identified, written, and systematically organized for effective use in the meeting planning and management process. 

Setting objectives is key to the meeting’s success.  Use the SMART test to determine if your objectives have been stated clearly enough to serve as a guideline for future performance.  An objective should be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time based.

Primary objectives must incorporate the SMART guidelines and secondary objectives should use as many of them as possible.

The Difference between purpose and objectives

  • A purpose is broad objectives are narrow.
  • A purpose has general intentions; objectives are precise.
  • A purpose is intangible; objectives are tangible.
  • A purpose is abstract; objectives are concrete.
  • A purpose can't be validated as is; objectives can be validated. 


Purpose: to create an understanding of the human body.

Objective: Name all of the bones in the human body as stated in the medical textbook "The Human Body".


It is important to analyze the purpose from the viewpoint of the attendee as well as the sponsoring organization.  The two must be compatible if the meeting is going to be a success.  If the sponsoring organization wants to hold a meeting for a specific purpose that the potential attendee is not interested in, it is unlikely many will attend!

If the purpose is to provided industry standards and accreditation, What types of meeting might they hold to support this meeting?

Continuing education – for accreditation purposes

Industry standards Workshop - what part of the potential audience have a vested interest in industry standards? The answer here can affect the size and scope of the meeting.  This does not mean you should not hold the meeting - it just might affect the meeting objectives and expectations


There are various types of objectives.

  1. Program Objectives - the entire content of the meeting;
  2. Session Objectives – content for each specific session
  3. Meeting Objectives - objectives that specifically relate to the meeting planning process…. Those things that you must ascertain before you can begin to plan the meeting and its content.  Things that will make the meeting a success - or not!
  • Where the meeting will be held - for the most impact
  • When – time of year, date
  • Whether it will make money or not
  • Type of attendance to attract  - senior execs, sales staff, junior associates
  • What type of set up will support the purpose - formal, all business, casual, relaxing.  Is a lot of content required or do you need to build in significant social and networking time

Setting meeting objectives can be difficult but extremely important.  They are used as the basis for the remainder of the planning process.  Take some time to produce a set of statements that clearly define exactly how you plan to put this meeting together.

Resource 1:  Tip 01 Writing Good Objectives (PDF)

Resource 2:  Tip 02 Testing Objectives (PDF)


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