Meetings have always been at the center of a smoothly functioning organization. It is critical and crucial for people to stay in sync while working in teams. What is an organization? Well, it's fair to say that it’s a bunch of well-coordinated, goal-driven teams. Physical meetings subsequently took the virtual path more aggressively once we got contained within the walls of our home. The pandemic has brought in a new norm of working. While offices are encouraging and in most cases. are forced to remote work, team coordination is being kept in line through multiple online meetings.
Every meeting, be it a short one or an elaborated one. every participant should feel included and important. But, a fruitful meeting is much more than that. Every meeting has separate objectives and goals, a unique flow of conversation, and decorum of execution. To be an enthusiastic and participative attendee or a responsible host, you need to know what and how a meeting is supposed to flow.
Meetings can be segregated into multiple categories but here we list down the 13 most prominent types for you:
1. Introductory meetings
This is usually the ice-breaking meet that is organized in any organization either while kickstarting a new project or introducing a new team member to the team. It’s usually a one-person hosted meeting with the responsibility to take the lead, organize it and execute it. The rest of the participants are formally invited and are often asked to speak about themselves, their ideas, about the project, or anything as per the context. This is the most formal way of generating engagement and is conducted physically or virtually in nearly all organizations.
2. Status update meetings
These are basically progress-check meetings and are conducted to facilitate the exchange of information and/or updates about a task or project. It could be held at a specific time of the day, every day; anytime, any day as per the project leader's expectations, or even multiple times a day when the timelines are challenging. It can be about any project, person or status of work in progress. To keep the project on track, here are a few questions often asked to the team members:
• What is the present status of the work?
• How long is it going to take to accomplish the work?
• What is the progress since the last meetings?
• What is required to complete the leftovers at the earliest?
Such meetings give the management a chance to intervene before any problem intensifies or even arises and to eliminate all roadblocks. The meetings are usually less engaging but are conducted to ensure that all members stick to the plan. The aim is to complete the task at the earliest without any hurdles and these meetings make it more feasible.
3. Decision-making meetings
So, is it time to formally agree upon something? Then, decision-making meetings grant the perfect combination of information and perspectives to come to a sealed deal. A project is accomplished based on collective intelligence. So, every participant is important, ask:
• What are each participant’s opinions and suggestions?
• Who should be the leader or can take the responsibilities?
• Based on what qualities the individual should be trusted?
Here, a broad spectrum of possibilities is narrowed down to take the correct decision that would drive the project to its winning post. Before coming to any decision, it’s very important to know whether all the team members are on the same page and these meetings do that and much more.
4. Problem-solving meetings
While working in a group, different people have different opinions which are bound to trigger conflicts and confusion. It’s important to prevent negative aspects from taking the lead. Problem-Solving Meetings should be designed to realign, resolve and resume the walk in the right direction. So, ask:
• What is the problem?
• Why did it originate?
• Is there any possibility of it recurring?
• What is the next action and how is it going to be fruitful?
When planning the problem-solving meeting, never forget the 4 P's - prep, plan, perform and perfect. These would help to resolve the matter and come to a satisfactory closure. The team should conclude so that none of the important aspects gets overlooked. If required, a mix of multiple long-term and short-term meetings can be conducted so that the root cause of the problem is discovered and addressed. These meetings also ensure that the team does not have to go back and forth with the same problem.
5. Team-building meetings
Working on a project is all about coordination and teamwork. When a group of individuals work in a team, cohesiveness is absolutely essential. An organized team with a well-drafted process flow usually meets the demands of every customer. So, team-building meetings are organized to keep all teammates in sync with each other. Such meetings usually discuss :
• Where is the communication gap?
• Ask the group to solve a problem to understand the cause of differences
• Ask them to participate in trust-building activities.
It’s a leader’s core duty to address individual weakness so that it does not affect the team in the long run. The meetings should foster collaboration and not competition. The meeting can also be turned into a happy hour for the team and motivate them. Make them feel valued and help them build faith in the objectives of the group or organization.
6. Info-sharing meetings
Focus and dedication put together with adequate effort and information build the base for a successful project. Info-sharing meetings are generally held to provide direct information support to any customer, employee, or other stakeholders. Based on relevance, stakeholders must stay updated about the latest changes in product/service, upcoming news about the company or the launch of any new products as everyone is important and plays a crucial role to play in terms of acceptance.
These meetings are conducted to do that. Share relevant information. The meetings are usually engaging owing to the knowledge value of the agenda. Yet to amplify the focus of the attendees, the host can use visual aids, put up engaging questions or share personal stories. Conducting polls or displaying results of any recently conducted survey can also keep the light on the main discussion.
7. Innovation meetings
These meetings are considered to be the most engaging and orchestrated with the right proportion of innovation, training, and ideas. The success of these meetings can only be achieved by the collaborative effort of the participants. The group usually consists of the creative or R&D team who put forth new, exciting, and innovative ideas and solutions to resolve an existing issue or an undiscovered one. These ideas need a clear and elaborated discussion as they have the potential to create or improve products for customers or stimulate sales.
The team must not deviate from hearing all the ideas, get an overview of them, analyze them to evaluate their viability. To reap success in such meetings, members should share their opinion or the future perspective and the host should encourage, motivate and push the team to think beyond the limits.
8. One-on-Ones meetings
As the name suggests, 1:1 meetings are basically meant to get a focused time with a specific person to discuss matters of relevance. It could be an appraisal meeting with an employee, meet with an end-user, or an investor meeting. It is a direct encounter, on-point discussion with an individual to avoid interruptions, ensure the privacy and comfort of the attendee. Very often, this is the category of meeting that brings home success.
9. Governance Cadence meetings
Certain meetings are required to get an overview of the organization or to go through the overall functioning of the organization. It provides a chance for the management to keep hold of legal aspects, compliances, and other administrative matters. These are generally held between the head of the company and the departmental heads of Administrative support functions like finance, legal, internal audit, etc. The most prominent example of meetings is board meetings.
This helps to keep records of every minute matter and also ensure that management is in sync with the functioning of the organization. These could be conducted in conjunction with problem-solving meetings or update meetings.
10. Planning Meetings
These meetings are conducted to review the mentality and motivation of the team and to have them on board in the execution of a project. It is usually conducted within an allotted time frame. At the very beginning the host should identify the topics that need to be discussed:
• What are the expectations from the group?
• By which time frame the results should be achieved?
Every topic should be discussed objectively so that the strategies can be developed and the execution framework can be developed. Thus, clarification of the aim, distribution of the roles, and reviewing the agenda should be the prime objective of this meeting.
These meetings are conducted in two parts - team formation and creation of the end product. The primary motto is to prepare the team to deal with future projects. It allows the participants to explore, inspire and share new ideas. Further, it also gives the host a chance to teach the team some hands-on skills. Workshops are also an opportunity for attendees to meet people who share similar interests and could foster a team for future projects. Credibility and building new relations are the perks of conducting a workshop.
12. Sense-making meeting
The right words to define this sort of meeting would be "to figure out something". To improve a project, the most essential aspect is to find the answer to the queries. This helps to understand the situation and also share an improved result. It can be to either find out the current status of the project or sales report or to sort out any problem that is cropping up in the organization. Very often meetings are also planned to engage the participants and this helps to develop, test, and refine the idea.
13. Community of Practice Gatherings
Social meetings are equally important just like formal ones. In this format of meeting the participants get to choose whether they are willing to participate or not. It's more of a fun activity rather than any serious discussion. It can be a safety committee meeting or a discussion about organizing any gathering. The motto is to build relationships and exchange ideas and the structure of the meeting is essentially informal.
Now, to make a meeting work, you need to have a structured agenda and adequate prior preparation. Invite the participants with due time in hand, maintain the start time, and also mark the attendance - this positivity and sincerity among the fellow attendees. If you are taking the lead then ensure that you are controlling the flow of the discussion. There must be takeaways for everyone, be it in the form of keynotes or conduct-oriented lessons.
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