Wednesday, 3 April 2019

Meeting Types

There are several types of meetings, and - even if we are invited - we shouldn't always attend all types.

There are three types of meetings:
  • Decision-making meetings: Two way communication. This is where we can contribute, where the outcome is not already a done-deal. This is where problem-solving, creativity, innovation and big picture thinking come to the fore. These meetings help us to build collegiality within the team. Go to these. If you can't attend, brief the chair comprehensively on your ideas, and tee up another person - well-briefed - to speak on your behalf.
  • Information meetings: Largely one way communication. This is where everyone is told where we are up to. Think planning progress, or status update meetings. Avoid by sending your own email update to the chair.
  • Advisory meetings: One-way communication. This is where everyone is gathered together to get the delivered wisdom from the organisation. Think CEO speech. Avoid wherever possible unless it is tied to networking (and then only turn up for the networking part). In my view, networking is not a meeting: it is an activity.
To persuade others in the organisation to not have information/advisory meetings, get them to use the Meeting Cost Calculator (here). Simply drag the slides along to get an idea of cost. A weekly meeting of 15 people for an hour could be $60k/year. Is it worth it to just tell people what has already happened?

A vlog might be a better - and cheaper - way to get the message across. And you could set it up to see who had actually watched. 

I have always thought there were three types of meetings, but some people reckon there are at least five (and some up to 16: I think that taxonomy is a bit too detailed!). Others have split decision-making meetings into four: decision-making; problem-solving; innovation; and team-building. I think those things all happen because the group comes together to make a decision. 

While I find a difference between advisory meetings, and information meetings, where others do not: both are often classified as information meetings. On consideration, I could be persuaded to a taxonomy of two meeting types: information and decision-making, but I will stick with the three for now. 

But we should only involve ourselves where we have an opportunity to make a difference. Decisions, all the way.


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