Last Updated: Aug 14, 2018
Make your meetings more productive and enjoyable by learning the 16 different types of meetings and how to use each of them best.
When you want to run better meetings, two of the most useful questions you can ask are:
The answer to the first question depends on your team and culture. (Not clear enough? Check out this and this). To answer the second question, it’s critical to develop an understanding of your options.
Different types of meetings require different conversations and yield different results. I’ve found that most leaders can only name three or four meeting types; a pretty limited palette.
In our research, we’ve found that businesses use 16 types of business meetings, divided into three groups. Each type of meeting works and feels different than the others and produces a distinct work result.
Cadence meetings keep the organization on track. They align teams, maintain momentum, and surface learning. These are the most common meetings and the most likely to be a source of dissatisfaction.
Not in high-performing organizations, however. If you look closely at the stories successful leaders tell, you’ll notice countless examples of how they’ve turned these regular internal meetings into drivers of their competitive advantage. Ray Dalio, CEO of Bridgewater Associates, shared tales from his team meetings in his Ted talk. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’ “no PowerPoint” rule is all over the Internet.
High-performing organizations take great care in designing cadence meetings that serve as rich opportunities for building trust, increasing team engagement, and driving strategic momentum.
Cadence meetings benefit from predictability. Types include:
Catalyst meetings focus on creating a successful change. Teams don’t run these every day; these are special occasions.
You can’t wing a catalyst meeting. Each one taps into aspects of human psychology and ingenuity that we don’t exercise in our day-to-day endeavors. To unlock the best thinking available in the group, there are techniques to learn and steps to follow. If you don’t already know how to run a catalyst meeting well, find and use an example agenda to guide you through.
Catalyst meetings require practice and the right process. Types include:
These meetings help people learn from each other and discover ways to work together in the future. Success hinges on small moments—a firm handshake, a confident smile, an insightful question—and less on sticking to a particular script.
These meetings require preparation and demand skill development. Types include:
Now that you’re aware of the 16 meeting types, how can you can put them to use?
First, improve existing meetings by following tailored advice. Rather than searching for tips on running better meetings, for example, you can seek guidance specific to weekly sales team meetings, or one-on-ones with engineers. Trust me, it’s out there.
Then, experiment! You’ll find many techniques optimized for specific meetings now that you know what to look for.
Every meeting has an impact. With 16 distinct meeting types in hand, you now can design for the impact you need.
J. Elise Keith is the co-founder of Lucid Meetings and the author of Where the Action Is: The Meetings That Make or Break Your Organization. For more information, please visit, www.lucidmeetings.com and connect with her on Twitter, @EliseID8.