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7 types of meetings (and how to get them right)

January 31, 2022 - 17 min read

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7 different types of meetings

How to plan effective meetings that add value to your team 

If you think you’re attending more meetings than before, that’s because you are. 

In a mid-Covid workplace, the number of meetings we attend has increased. Whether we’re working from home or in the office, it’s important to understand the different types of meetings we take part in. 

Meetings are a way to collaborate, share information, and find solutions as a team, no matter where we work from. They are an opportunity to use brainstorming techniques to generate new and creative ideas. 

The problem is that many meetings that take place today are inefficient. According to Doodle’s State of Meetings report, professionals spend 2 hours each week in pointless meetings

How can we make meetings feel less like a waste of time and more productive

Let’s begin by learning about the different types of meetings and how to make sure they add value to you and your team. 

7 different types of meetings 

When done right, each meeting we attend serves an important purpose. Let’s familiarize ourselves with some important types, so we can better understand how to conduct them the right way. 

Let’s look at each in a bit more detail:

1. Decision-making meetings 

A decision-making meeting is a collaborative effort led by a team leader

According to McKinsey, it’s typically made up of 6 to 8 attendees and contains a structured agenda that identifies the decision that needs to be made

The participants involved are key decision-makers or subject matter experts. For example, deciding on a new hire will only include certain employees like hiring managers. 

To run an effective decision-making meeting, participants must know in advance how the decision will be made, explains a Harvard Business Review article. 

For instance, if the team can’t come to a consensus within 60 minutes, they’ll put it to a vote or the key decision-maker will make the final call. Knowing in advance how the decision will be reached avoids wasting time. 

Another important aspect of decision-making meetings is information gathering. You’ll want to make sure you have all the necessary information you need to make the best decision. 

Examples:

  • Deciding on a new hire 
  • Making a employer branding change 
  • Operational changes like downsizing or cutting costs
  • Final approval of a design 

2. Problem-solving meetings 

The main goal of a problem-solving meeting is to find the optimal solution to an issue facing the organization. 

And when it comes to finding the best course of action, two heads (or a few in this case) are better than one. A Harvard Business Review article explains that effective problem-solving meetings require participants to come together and generate as many potential solutions as possible. 

Once that objective is achieved, participants have to decide who will implement the best solution. This responsibility can be assigned to one person or shared among a few team members. 

Finally, a successful problem-solving meeting isn’t complete without identifying the root cause of the issue. Understanding what led to the problem in the first place will prevent it from happening again. 

Examples: 

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3. Team-building meetings 

Team building meetings are designed to strengthen teamwork, trust, and cohesion. Improving the way employees work together leads to an increase in productivity as well as employee happiness

A team-building meeting aims to create a fun and interactive atmosphere through the use of games or team challenges. This is a great opportunity for organizers or leaders to get involved and form stronger connections with their teams. 

As more employees are working remotely, virtual team-building meetings are becoming increasingly important. They’re a way to engage and connect with employees who work from home and may feel isolated from their team members and organization. Engaging with remote employees helps prevent company culture and employee morale from deteriorating.

Examples: 

  • Virtual board games 
  • Virtual team challenges 
  • Lunch and learns 
  • Internal TED Talks
  • Team outings 

4. Brainstorming meetings 

Brainstorming sessions are innovation meetings. Participants collaborate to generate new and creative ideas. 

During these sessions, team members work as equal co-contributors or under the guidance of a facilitator. These idea-generating meetings are loosely structured, allowing teams to “think big” and tap into their creative potential. Using a variety of brainstorming techniques like mind mapping, employees use their creative thinking skills to come up with fresh ideas or new products.

business-meeting-planning-types-of-meetings

Idea-generating meetings are most successful when teams are diverse. Diverse perspectives generate better ideas, identify potential blind spots, and create more innovative solutions. 

Examples: 

  • Product development 
  • Ad campaign creation 

5. One-on-one meetings 

A one-on-one meeting is a meeting between two people. It is scheduled for a specific purpose. 

For example, it can be a performance review between a manager and their employee, or a meeting between a sales rep and their client

While you don’t need to follow an agenda during a one-on-one, a running document on what each person needs to touch on is common. Otherwise, the meeting is loosely formatted and unfolds like a normal conversation

According to Microsoft Workplace Insights, one-on-one check-ins have increased by 18% since the pandemic. Their research found that regular touchpoints foster a sense of connection and fun for remote employees. 

Examples: 

6. Quarterly planning meetings 

Every three months, teams come together to strategically implement a company’s short-term and long-term goals

Like problem-solving and decision-making meetings, attendance is limited to participants that will execute the plan. Each participant is expected to contribute and commit to implementing the plan. 

While the structure of the meeting can vary, it’s usually led by the team leader who assigns tasks to each attendee

Quarterly planning meetings are a great way to track a team’s progress and keep team members motivated. They’re also a good opportunity to reflect on the previous quarter and review what needs to be executed in the following one. 

Examples: 

7. Check-in meetings 

Check-in meetings are one of the most common types of meetings. Organizations regularly hold these progress-check meetings for several reasons: 

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During a weekly team cadence meeting, for example, employees update their managers and team on their weekly progress. 

Check-in meetings are becoming increasingly important as more people are working from home, and not directly under the supervision of managers. Regular check-ins help ensure remote employees stay informed and their goals align with the rest of the team. 

Examples: 

  • Project status update meetings 
  • Client check-in meetings 
  • New employee onboarding check-in 
  • Weekly one-on-one check-in meetings 
  • Weekly team meetings 
  • Project debriefs

How to plan effective meetings that add value to your team 

There’s no denying the frequency of meetings has increased since the pandemic began. Another Microsoft report shares that weekly meeting time has more than doubled with the rise of the hybrid work environment. 

With fewer opportunities to connect in the office, online meetings are a way to stay updated, socialize, and share information. 

As your employees attend more types of meetings, It’s important to make each one as productive and efficient as possible. Otherwise, they can negatively affect your team’s morale and productivity. 

But before you begin to plan your next meeting, ask yourself this question –– Is a meeting really necessary, or could it be an email? For example, if the meeting doesn’t need a discussion or decision making, relaying certain information is best done via email. 

According to a recent SurveyMonkey poll, 32% of employees think, “this meeting could have been an email” all or most of the time. This is usually the sentiment when meetings are pointless and far too frequent. 

employees-teleconference-call-types-of-meetings

However, when you do need to plan a meeting, each one must be worth every minute of your time and your employees’ time. 

Here are a few tips to help you organize more efficient meetings: 

Set clear a clear objective and agenda

Before sending a meeting invite, make sure you know the exact purpose of the meeting. What is your end goal? This will help you figure out what kind of meeting you should be having and who needs to attend. 

Once your objective is set, your meeting needs to follow a clear agenda to ensure every minute of it is used efficiently. 

A survey by the tech company Barco found that 13% of meeting time is wasted because people discuss topics outside of the meeting’s objectives. Following a meeting agenda will cut back the time spent discussing topics that aren’t relevant to the meeting. 

Without a clear structure, meetings can quickly become unproductive. 

Avoid inviting too many attendees

Determine which team members need to be there and don’t overcrowd the meeting. For example, a decision-making meeting should only involve key stakeholders. 

This ensures those who need to be in attendance have an opportunity to contribute and make their voices heard. 

Ensure everyone arrives on time 

Barco’s survey also found that 11% of meetings are spent waiting for someone to arrive. And according to Doodle’s State of Meetings report, people arriving late is one of the main factors that turns a good meeting sour.

Start your meeting promptly and emphasize the importance of being on time with your employees. 

Keep it short 

Ensure the meeting is no longer than it needs to be. As Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple, is famously quoted as saying, “The longer the meeting, the less is accomplished.” 

Microsoft found that the optimal meeting time for their employees is no longer than thirty minutes. Employees organically transitioned to shorter meetings to optimize their productivity and move away from time-consuming meetings that affect employee happiness

Keep the team focused

The meeting leader or facilitator should ensure participants come prepared and focused. For instance, if someone in the group is constantly checking their phone during the meeting, the team leader should intervene. 

Keeping participants accountable ensures no time is wasted and everyone gets the most out of the meeting. 

Which types of meetings can you improve within your organization? 

There are many types of meetings leaders are responsible for planning. 

From weekly team huddles to more formal meetings, each one is uniquely valuable to the organization and team’s success. Understanding the importance of each one and how to run it efficiently is the key to reducing time-wasting, pointless meetings. 

Start working with a BetterUp coach to increase the effectiveness of your meetings and build lasting organizational transformation.

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Published January 31, 2022

Maggie Wooll

Managing Editor

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