Meeting Types: What are the Most Common Types of Meetings and How to Make the Best Use of Your Meeting Time
Identify the type of your next meeting in order to plan for it successfully
Nobody likes or has time for pointless meetings. We’ve all been there, though. You know the type — lengthy business meetings with no direction, involving tons of people who are just daydreaming and can’t wait to go back to their responsibilities. It’s even worse when there is no clearly defined meeting purpose or the purpose of the meeting was to simply share information that could’ve been sent in an email. Those types of meetings are painful, irritating and one of the many factors contributing to employee burnout.
When it comes to conducting efficient team meetings, there is a list of “do’s and don’ts” as meetings, after all, cost time and money. Not just that but with so many communication tools available for team collaboration and communication these days, there should certainly be a very good reason behind attending a meeting. If employees set time aside to meet, there needs to be something important happening. Otherwise it’s just a bunch of workers coming together in a room.
The first step towards avoiding meaningless and unproductive meetings is to determine the type of meeting you’re about to have. Before reaching out to everyone with a date, time, location and agenda, ask yourself if the meeting you’re about to schedule is one of the following types. If not, we highly recommend you double check if you really need to call everyone in for a meeting or it’s better to just send an email.
Getting familiarized with the six types of business meetings will help you better identify your goals, understand how to properly structure a meeting and what types of activities are best suited for your meetings. Let’s check them all out one by one!
What are The 6 Most Common Meeting Types?
- Status Update Meetings
- Decision-Making Meetings
- Problem-Solving Meetings
- Team-Building Meetings
- Idea-Sharing Meetings
- Innovation Meetings
1. Status Update Meeting
These are well-know and usually recurring team meetings intended to share updates on the latest company projects. The goal of a status update meeting is to make sure everyone on the team is one the same page and understands their individual responsibilities and tasks, as well as everyone else’s.
These types of meetings are usually quick and either take the form of a stand-up meeting or a morning huddle meeting. They are meant to clear any misunderstandings or miscommunication that can end up costing the company significant amounts of wasted time. A status update meeting might not be the most engaging or fun but it’s necessary to have them in order to address issues, assign tasks and make any decisions necessary to progress with the project effectively.
Since they can turn into quick sync-ups, they are less likely to take a lot of time and instead are more straightforward, simple and quick. Everyone tells what they did the previous day, what they are working on now and whether they are experiencing issues that prevent them from completing the task.
2. Decision-Making Meeting
Managers and team leaders are the people in charge of the project and that grants them the ability to have the final say. Still, important business decisions are discussed in larger groups so that everyone can share their thoughts and opinions and contribute to the decision-making process.
The decision-making process, especially when it comes to the future of an entire organization, is lengthy and involves a lot of stakeholders. That’s why these types of meetings might spread out over several different meetings. This way, all parties are given the chance to gather information, prepare with a solution and vote on the best way to move forward. If you’re running or attending a decision making session, prepare yourself as there will be a lot of communicating back and forth and you will be tied up in not just one but probably several meetings.
3. Problem-Solving Meetings
Just like decision-making meetings, problem-solving sessions are held with a specific goal in mind. Since every organization, business and team is different, there is no standard way of handling problem-solving meetings. They are, however, very crucial for the success of any project.
In case of a business emergency, PR crisis or any type of conflict or issue that might arise in a company, managers usually schedule a problem-solving meeting to deal with the issue as quickly as possible. These meetings provide a stage for team members to engage in a fruitful brainstorming session and collectively solve the problem at hand. They create a sense of togetherness and improve collaboration.
4. Team-Building Meetings
Every meeting presents an opportunity for a team to get to know each other better and become a little closer by engaging in meaningful discussions and solving problems collectively. Sometimes, however, it’s necessary to put all work-related activities aside and plan a team-building meeting.
These types of meetings have proven to be crucial for improving employee communication, collaboration and motivation. Not just that but they can boost the productivity and efficiency of team members, as well as serve as an energy, confidence and creativity boost.
Team-building meetings take the form of outings, events, seminars, etc. With working from home becoming the new norm, however, managers are also coming up with unique ways to have virtual team-building activities that can still build strong working relationships while everyone is at home.
5. Idea-Sharing Meetings
When there are things to be said and ideas to be shared, sometimes lengthy emails or chaotic chat threads are not the best way to go for. That’s when an idea-sharing meeting can be scheduled. This way, the whole group gets together and everyone can ask questions and engage in a fruitful brainstorming session.
These meetings are very interactive and allow everyone to go more in-depth on a topic in real time. The results are better teamwork, stronger relationships and an engaging, quite pleasant meeting experience.
Remember that these types of meetings usually take a lot of time and resources. However, they can often result in new product ideas or innovative new ways of doing things which is a great factor for getting ahead of the competition.
6. Innovation Meeting
Innovation meetings are about presenting fresh ideas for products or innovative new ways to conduct day-to-day operations. Every business needs new ideas, of course, and innovation meetings are the answer to that need. You can’t force creativity or make someone come up with a groundbreaking idea for a product on the spot. However, you can schedule a meeting in advance and have a room full of people ready to bounce ideas off and come up with the next best thing.
Innovation meetings can become the reason why your business is progressing and achieving new milestones.
Tips on How to Make the Best Use of Your Meeting Time
- Use a Meeting Management Tool
To enhance the productivity and efficiency of your next business meeting, try using a meeting management tool. With the right software, you can enhance the quality of your meeting experience. This is especially valid if you are managing or running a virtual team.
An example of a useful meeting management software is Mombit. Platforms like Mombit come with a pleasing set of features, including the ability to calculate meeting ROI, keep track of action items and assignments, attend as many meetings as you want, use built-in meeting minutes and integrate tasks and action items into project management apps your company is using, such as Asana or Jira.
2. Set Clear Goals for Your Meeting
If you are going to be the meeting leader, you have to be prepared. Having a clear meeting agenda will help you structure the meeting and don’t waste any unnecessary time. The ideal meeting has no surprises, strictly follows the agenda and starts on time and ends on time. The idea is to prepare everything in advance and avoid discussions on topics which are currently not important.
Leading a meeting that is 100% following an agenda can be quite the challenge. It’s up to the meeting leader to keep off-topic conversations short and if necessary, schedule another meeting to discuss things further.
3. Take Meeting Minutes
This is one of the most important things to remember — always send a quick recap of the meeting to attendees, team members who couldn’t attend and everyone who might be interested to know whether the meeting was a success or not.
For your next meeting, you can have a designated note-taker or even better, you can learn how to take effective meeting minutes and do it yourself. This way, you won’t miss out on any important details, takeaways, assignments or decisions from the meeting. Not just that but well-written meeting minutes will clear any miscommunications, boost retention and serve as a great reminder of who is responsible for what.
Ultimately, meetings (regardless of their type) are here to stay whether you like it or not. They don’t have to be so tedious, though! Defining the type of meeting you’d like to have with your team can do wonders for its outcome. Adding the above-mentioned meeting tips can turn any meeting into an upbeat and highly productive team experience. And don’t forget to prepare accordingly, structure the agenda and utilize meeting minutes for a better outcome.