Like it or not, meetings probably take up a lot of your time during the week. There are different meeting types and each type requires a different structure. To achieve your goals, you need to consider these differences when setting up and holding a meeting. So, let’s make sure you get the most out of your time! Here’s what you need to know about 4 common meeting types and how to make them work.

Information sharing meetings

These meetings are all about (you guessed it!) informing attendees about a specific issue or sharing information. Depending on the setting, there are several goals that would lead you to choose an information sharing meeting. Most of the time they are educational, such as with seminars, presentations, and lectures. And other times the presenter is sharing information to persuade the group.

The challenge of these meetings is that they easily become boring and tend to be filled with too much information. So, to hold a successful information sharing meeting, organizers need to keep the attendees engaged. Make sure you involve the audience as active listeners. Providing channels for them to ask questions and give feedback is a great way to make sure the group is engaged and paying attention. By making the presentation dynamic, you increase the success of any information sharing meeting. Even something as simple as polling the audience on their interest in the topic can help make the meeting much more engaging. This is true for all information sharing meetings, regardless of the content.

Decision-making meetings

The majority of business decisions are made in meetings, especially important decisions. Your goal in this kind of meeting can vary a little based on the type of decision, but they always focus on coming to a consensus.

Making group decisions can be a challenge. Things like incomplete information and narrow perspectives can make your decision-making meetings even more challenging. Being aware of these things will move you closer to facilitating successful group decision-making. How do you come to a decision? The process can include activities like information gathering and sharing, brainstorming solutions, evaluating options, ranking preferences, and voting on the final options. One of the most important aspects of decision meetings is to create unity around the decision that is created. When everyone feels their opinion has been considered they are more likely to feel ownership of the decision, even when it’s not the outcome they hoped for.

Problem-solving meetings

At problem-solving meetings, the outcome is often a big, important decision. These decisions can be crucial to the development of a team or product. However, problem-solving meetings are one of the most difficult meeting types to hold. Identifying the real problem, intra-group conflict, defensiveness and time pressure are often challenging factors that bring more problems to the meeting. If you choose the wrong action, this could do a lot of damage to the company. So, to make sure that this doesn’t happen, follow these tips!

To come to the best solution for your problem, you first should clearly define what the problem is, as well as to agree on key criteria for the solution. After this, brainstorm possible solutions, evaluate top solutions and then decide on the best one. What truly is the most optimal solution can vary a lot, depending on the setting and situation. Sometimes the best solution is the quickest one, other times it is the one that requires the least resources, while other times it’s the solution that brings the most long-term benefits.

Innovation meetings

It is the key to almost every successful organization: innovation. That’s why innovation meetings are some of the most important meetings. Think about creative meetings and brainstorm sessions. The focus of innovation meetings is to come up with new ideas, designing or redesigning products, or developing entirely new approaches for your business. These meetings tend to be free-flowing. Attendees will build on each other’s ideas, creating a product of their collective intelligence.

Innovation meetings often start with thinking outside the box; brainstorming, associating, and sharing ideas in a broad scope. After this, you can then use various techniques to reduce the pool of ideas to a shorter list. Through ranking, evaluations, and decision making, you can choose the most suitable idea, and you or someone else can assign tasks to everyone. 

A few things you’ll want to get right:

  • Take notes. You’ll want to appoint someone who keeps track of all the ideas that your team comes up with.
  • Follow through. Make sure that your follow-up notes are as clear as possible. You can do this by assigning tasks to the participants and turning ideas into concrete goals.
  • Participation. If you want your innovation meetings to make sense, all participants should be innovating together. Give the meeting participants creative tasks to think outside the box! Give everyone space and try not to be judgmental. Creativity and enthusiasm are very important if you want these kinds of meetings to work.

So…

What type of meeting is your next meeting? Make sure you clearly state the purpose and meeting type in the invitation. This would save you and your team time and effort. Want to learn more about holding a successful meeting? Check out our blog about common meeting problems and how to overcome them.

For all your meeting types, we’re building GAIKU: your guide to perfect meetings. GAIKU will guide your meetings to better results. You can choose from different meeting templates like Scrum, or create your own. Sign up today and improve your meetings!