Choices with Purpose: The Art of Meeting Design


Most of us have spent hundreds of hours in meetings, as both leaders and participants. Thousands. How often are those hours well spent? When planned or administered poorly, meetings can be frustrating,waste valuable time and energy, and offer little forward momentum. When designed with purpose, meetings have the power to connect people in new ways, and invite more focus, creativity and collaboration. In this workshop, Essential Partners will draw on its 26 years of experience designing effective meetings - from a small college department and to a gathering as large 200. For both, and everything in between, the principles remain the same. Through engaging exercises and instruction, this one-day workshop will equip participants with the tools they need to plan and execute effective and productive meetings.

Learning Objectives:

  • Learn an extremely adaptable set of principles and practices for meeting design through instruction and case studies.
  • Use effective preparation and the first few minutes of a meeting to transform the mentality of participants and maximize a meeting’s impact.
  • Gain tools for discouraging avoidance, and promoting participation.
  • Learn how to match the purposes of a meeting with specific types of agendas, formats and structures.


As a result of this workshop, you will be equipped to:

  • Transform meetings from unproductive and disjointed to purposeful and collaborative spaces for innovation.
  • Foster conversations during meetings that are focused, constructive, and impactful.
  • Anticipate and structure difficult conversations, allowing participants to listen and be heard on issues that create group tension or dysfunctional communication.
  • Foster creativity while also keeping the meeting on task, leaving participants satisfied and energized.
  • Customize agendas for each specific meeting, maximizing time and setting achievable assignments and goals.

Who might participate:

  • Managers looking to transform dull department or staff meetings into highly anticipated and fruitful time for collaboration, decision-making, and innovation.
  • Consultants who want to create meetings that are better tailored to fit the needs and communication challenges of a wide variety of organizations.
  • Community leaders or public administrators looking to improve chaotic public meetings.
  • Members of a strategic planning committee looking to overcome roadblocks in the planning process.
  • Clergy and lay leaders who head committees and lead meetings of governing bodies.

For more information, please reach out to us at or 617-923-1216 ext. 10.

Workshop policies.


Upcoming Workshops

August 10, 2017
Cambridge, MA
Regular fee
Early Bird Special:
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Meeting Design, Application through Case Studies, Small Group Exercises, Preparation and Purpose


I did not anticipate having as many concrete takeaways as I do. I feel there is an immense practical application.