The Importance of Meetings
Exforsys Inc. in their article refers to meetings as “a powerful business weapon to reach decisions on crucial and urgent matters.” Meetings can be used to accomplish the following:
- give project updates and discuss issues
- provide an opportunity to make decisions
- conduct negotiations
- improve working relationships and boost morale
- acknowledge and recognize team accomplishments.
The Problem With Meetings
Meetings are important, but they can be unproductive for various reasons. Problems with meetings can be attributed to poor planning and poor management of the meeting. Factors that often lead too poor meetings include not having a prepared agenda, meeting for too long, starting the meeting late, not making any decisions, ineffective leadership and lastly boredom. When meetings are unproductive, people tend to day-dream or fall asleep. You don’t want to be one of them!
Benefits of Meetings
An effective and successful meeting can lead to decisions which can have a powerful impact on the bottom line of the organization. Review the following list of what teams can do at good meetings and note the skills associated with each of these benefits:
- resolve problems (being analytical)
- discuss issues and ideas (speaking, listening and responding skills)
- build relationship (interpersonal skills)
- collaborate (explaining / giving and receiving feedback)
- brainstorm (sharing and exchanging information)
- plan (organizational skills, being a visionary, providing direction )
- make decisions (making choices, being intuitive)
- build and strengthen teams (being a team player – teamwork skills)
- share and exchanging information (communicating)
- come up with new ideas (demonstrating creativity)
Types of Meetings
A meeting can be anything from an impromptu chat at the photocopy machine to a formal Board of Directors style of meeting. The format will vary according to the reason for the meeting, the number of participants, the urgency or time constraints, the preference of the meeting leaders and the protocols of the company.
Basic types of Organized Meetings
Standing Meeting: This is a meeting that takes place at regularly scheduled intervals. Since these meetings recur, the format and agenda become well established. The attendees know the format which aids in preparing for the meeting. This style of meeting is convenient and consistent and although important, it can be easily rescheduled if necessary. Standing meetings may be led by a leader or facilitator and attendees are usually expected to participate in the sharing or updating of information.
Topical Meeting: This style of meeting may occur when there is a need to discuss a specific subject such as a work-related issue or task related to a project. This may be leader focussed and may require attendees’ participation.
Presentation: The purpose of a presentation style meeting is usually to provide information. It is often highly structured and lead by one or a small group of people. Attendees may have the opportunity to ask questions but generally their participation is limited.
Conference: Conferences are highly structured, well moderated meetings. There is usually a fixed agenda and they are usually comprised of a number of presentations which participants are expected to attend.
Emergency Meeting: This is a meeting called to address a crisis. These meetings are often arranged with very little notice but must be attended by all members. They are only called when absolutely necessary and take precedent over other meetings or work.
Seminar: This is a structured meeting with an educational purpose. Seminars are usually led by people with expertise in the subject matter.