Meetings in an organization enable collaboration across teams. Every company holds meetings to stay updated, brainstorm ideas, solve problems, and make decisions.
But according to HBR, 71% of senior managers said meetings are inefficient and unproductive.
This is because of inefficient ways of conducting meetings and investing time in unnecessary meetings. Meetings are crucial only when the right meeting is conducted in the right way.
In this guide, you'll understand different types of business meetings and their purpose. And how you can extract the maximum value.
Why are Effective Meetings Important?
Whether there’s a change in your operation method or a new project to discuss, the meetings you’d hold will depend on the problem you’re looking to solve.
Team meetings are essential for different reasons:
- To ensure everyone works towards the same goal.
- To build relationships and facilitate team bonding.
However, many organizations engage in unnecessary meetings, which leads to losses. According to a State of Meetings report by Doodle, pointless meetings cost U.S. companies a whopping $399 billion in 2019.
To ensure maximum meeting productivity, you need to ask yourself the following questions before sending out a meeting invite:
- What problem am I looking to address?
- Is this the right kind of meeting for this problem?
The answer to the first question depends on you, but the second question requires that you know what types of meetings there are? What are the examples of meeting types?
In this article, we will discuss the different types of meetings in an organization and their purpose.
15 Types of Meetings in an Organization You Should Know
There’s a bit of a debate about what types of meetings are important in an organization. However, after in-depth research and analysis, we’ve compiled 15 types of business meetings spread across three groups. Note that these meetings are distinct in their end goal.
Meetings With Known Participants and Patterns
Businesses are run by setting objectives and laying down an approach that team members follow to achieve such goals.
While every organization would like to have a steady plan to see out the working year, things may change as time passes. And the initial approach may not yield the right results, thus suggesting a need for improvement.
All the meetings in this group are basically between established team members, with most occurring intermittently, forming a framework or an operational cadence of the organization.
These types of meetings have the same pattern; the next meeting is much like the last one. They often require less pre-planning because the participants are known and are aware of the meetings’ format.
1. Team Cadence Meetings
Team cadence meetings follow a predefined pattern and, in most cases, use the same agenda.
This example of a meeting serves as an avenue to review and renew plans with new information— but no major changes are expected in these meetings. A major change would mean derailing from the meeting’s purpose, resulting in meeting failure.
These meetings are important for ensuring group cohesion, drive execution and continuity. Usually, the team manager leads the meeting; however, any team member can lead effectively. A team cadence meeting where everyone engages collaboratively yields the best results.
Examples of cadence meetings are a regular committee meeting and the shift change meeting.
2. Progress Check Meetings
Similar to team cadence meetings, progress checks follow a regular pattern. Organizations hold these meetings to maintain project momentum and ensure mutual accountability.
And major surprises are also not welcomed to avoid derailing from the meetings’ purpose.
In other words, to ensure that everyone is effectively carrying out their roles and, if not, discuss issues and sort out what’s necessary to ensure everyone performs their job.
Generally, project managers and account managers lead a progress check meeting with a structure for others to contribute.
For remote teams, everyone might take turns giving a report, or the meeting leader calls on responsible team members to do so. Project status meetings and client check-in are examples of progress checks.
One-on-ones, as the name implies, are meetings between two people. The relationship between the two matters and is a major factor in the success of these meetings.
Depending on your team, one-on-ones could follow an agenda; however, they’re like normal conversations in most cases. The only difference is that this is scheduled for a specific purpose.
Examples of one-on-one meetings are manager-employee one-on-one and a mentorship meeting.
4. Action Reviews
Similar to team cadence meetings, action reviews are ritualistic types of meetings in an organization.
They continuously educate the team, depending on what they’ve learned subsequently.
Unlike team cadence meetings, surprises are welcome here. While surprises come with major changes, action reviews are about taking surprises as lessons.
These types of meetings are important for organizations to learn, gain insight, develop confidence, and generate recommendations for change.
Examples of this meeting type - Pre-surgery meetings (Healthcare) or win/loss review (sales).
5. Governance Cadence meetings
These types of meetings are highly structured and professional; every participant is known beforehand but not necessarily in the same organization.
An official company representative heads these meetings, no surprises are allowed. In fact, participants are briefed privately before the meeting.
Governance cadence meetings are important for strategic definition and oversight, regulatory compliance and monitoring, and relationship maintenance. Board meetings are an obvious example.
Meetings Scheduled As Needed
These meetings come up as the need arises, with team managers, including people who help achieve meeting goals. Because they come up as needed, participants and patterns are customized to fit these meetings’ requirements.
These meetings follow a thoughtful process, either with an established team or external personnel.
6. Idea Generation Meetings
As the name implies, idea generation means that a facilitator drops a premise and other participants contribute with different ideas.
Participants can use any idea generation technique to respond to the central premise of the meeting.
For the best results in this type of meeting, relationships are kept at the door, and team managers would go for participants with innovative abilities to generate valuable ideas.
Organizations run these meetings to develop ideas that would either solve a problem or improve a section. So, generating ideas is the crux here—not necessarily refining the ideas.
An example of an idea generation meeting is an ad campaign brainstorming session.
7. Planning Meetings
Planning meetings differ in format, depending on the plan you’re looking to discuss in the meeting.
Generally, it begins by laying down the plan, with an analysis of the current situation and its improvement.
The project owner leads these meetings, and participants are expected to contribute to the plan. Relationships are not a factor in these meetings as they’re strictly professional. Planning meetings end with the acceptance or rejection of the plan.
These meetings are essential in creating plans and securing the commitment to implement said plans.
An excellent example of a planning meeting is social campaign planning meetings.
Workshops are set up as the base for future work. Therefore, they may involve two parts: team formation and creating a shared work product.
Usually, workshops involve incorporating the elements of other meeting types like idea generation and planning meetings.
These meetings kick off with an introduction, an assessment of overall goals, and exercises in which every participant engages in a structured manner.
Workshops are usually long so they require that you plan and structure every activity to flow seamlessly.
To conclude a workshop, the meeting leader would review the work product and end it with a review exercise.
That said, workshops are set up as needed as they don’t often follow a pattern. The people in charge create the structure for the workshop.
A few examples of workshops: team chartering, design workshops, and value stream mapping.
9. Problem-Solving Meetings
These types of meetings have the purpose of involving team members who can offer solutions and those who would implement the solution.
Depending on the nature of the problem, these meetings are led by the person in charge.
However, the participants are expected to contribute to arriving at the goal of the meeting actively. Problem-solving requires participants of great expertise.
These people may or may not know each other. Hence, while relationships might add to the meeting’s success, it is not a factor in this case.
These meetings begin with a review of the situation (what led to the problem, what resources we have to solve it, etc.) and then analyze the available options to arrive at the end goal.
The team then agrees on an option and sets up an action plan. Problem-solving meetings help companies find a solution to a problem and secure a commitment to enact the solution.
Examples of problem-solving meetings: incident response and strategic issue resolution.
10. Decision-Making Meetings
Decision-making meetings often involve a predefined team. But like problem-solving meetings, some decisions may require expertise. Therefore, others may be involved, even if they’re not directly part of the decision-makers.
The team leader often leads these meetings. If the decision to be discussed is straightforward, the meeting may be structured. But if it’s about weighing up different options, it would be collaborative.
If a problem-solving meeting is held beforehand, the options discussed then would be considered and a final option selected in this meeting.
Companies use these meetings to make a documented decision and establish a commitment to act on that decision—for example, hiring or logo selection.
Meetings To Share Information And Influence
The purpose of these types of meetings is to share information with another group, to influence their decisions. These meetings are all about sharing information for mutual benefit.
These meetings involve social and psychological connections and with emphasis on etiquette rather than work, product, and structure. Although, that isn’t always the case. These online meeting etiquettes will help you run your meetings effectively.
11. Sense-making Meetings
An interviewer leads these meetings, and the participants are the interviewee and a few observers. Participants are expected to engage in a sense-making meeting by responding to questions.
In other words, the structure of these meetings is a question-responder one. Some interviewers prefer to build a rapport and make the meeting seem conversational.
Most sense-making meetings are governed by privacy or non-disclosure agreements, which would be stated beforehand. Other than that, there is no regular pattern associated with these meetings.
These meetings are important for gaining an understanding of the current state of a project or system.
Examples: job interviews, project discovery meetings, incident investigations, etc.
The persons responsible for the meetings are also responsible for leading the meeting. The participants are either invited or requested to be present. Engagements are almost one-sided, as in a presentation. The participants may or may not contribute; it solely depends on them.
There are no special formats for these types of meetings. It is up to the person who asked for the meeting. These meetings are important for both parties to learn about each other and decide if they want to take the relationship further.
Examples of introduction meetings: first meeting between professionals, a sales pitch, etc.
13. Issue Resolution Meetings
Issue resolution meetings, as the name implies, are held to resolve issues between two parties.
It usually involves two parties and a third party (negotiator). Any party can lead these meetings in the absence of a third party.
Both parties are expected to engage in these meetings. But the mode of engagement is dependent on the situation.
For example, a heated situation will require a structured method of engagement to ensure order throughout the meeting. Examples of this type of meeting: support team escalation, contract negotiations, renewals, etc.
14. A Community of Practice Gatherings
These types of meetings are more social than formal. Participants are there voluntarily because they’re interested in the meeting’s topic. An organizer opens the meeting and introduces a presenter if any. Participants are expected to engage at their convenience by asking questions and giving answers where necessary.
These types of meetings in the organization are important for the topic-focused exchange of ideas, relationship development, etc.
Examples: monthly safety committee meetings and project manager’s meetups.
15. Training sessions
Training sessions are common in remote work settings, where a trainer leads the meeting, and the participants may be required to be there or volunteer to be present.
The purpose of this meeting is to train remote employees. There is no predefined structure for this meeting type; the trainer decides the structure while participants can contribute with questions or answers. These meetings are essential to transfer knowledge and skills.
Examples of training sessions: client training on a new product, new employee virtual onboarding, safety training, seminars, etc.
Which Type Of Meeting is Best for You?
Now that you know the types of meetings, a new question arises:
How do you determine which type of meeting works best for your situation?
Firstly, assess the problem you’re looking to solve, what your ideal solution would look like, and how you intend to get the solution.
For example, if you’re looking to hire a new candidate and get your solution by assessing renowned team members' or stakeholders’ opinions, a decision-making meeting would suit this situation.
Choosing the right meeting type is one thing, and putting it to work is another. You need to put it to use to ensure meeting productivity.
Written by Derek Johnson