Meetings are often long, boring, and a waste of everyone's time. Yet we still feel compelled to hold them and are usually expected to attend them. The truth is that while they often lack efficiency and effectiveness, meetings serve an important purpose in our organizations. The key to holding an effective meeting (and to increasing productivity in the workplace) is to first understand why the meeting is being held. Meetings can be summed up into three different categories: 1) Oversight, 2) Communication, and 3) Decision. (Yes, the acronym for this is OCD!)
The Oversight Meeting
The first type of meeting is the oversight meeting. This type is often a standing meeting, held on a recurring basis, for the goal of managing something as a group. A great example of this type of meeting is a Board of Directors meeting. The Board of Directors are those who are ultimately responsible for an organization and their "Board Meeting" is the facility used to manage the organization. The directors do not have the time to manage an organization on a day-to-day basis, and the oversight meeting serves the purpose though a concentrated and focused effort.
The Communication Meeting
The second type of meeting is one intended for communication. A communication meeting is meant to inform or educate a group of people which the topic affects. Meetings regarding layoffs, sales goals, system training, corporate culture, and other logistics are all types of communication meetings. These meetings are meant to share a vision and get a team on board with the direction of leadership. Questions can be asked in this focused setting and when the meeting is over, the attendees can be held accountable for the information covered in the meeting.
The Decision Meeting
The final type of meeting, the decision meeting, varies from a communication meeting in that the main objective of the meeting is to get all of the needed individuals together in order to make a decision regarding the organization. A problem or question is presented during the meeting and the group is expected to determine the course of action the organization will take. If a final decision cannot be reached during the meeting, a partial decision, such as who will lead a sub-committee to resolve the issue, is often made.
While each of these meetings serve a different purpose, the goal of any meeting should be effectiveness. By understanding the type of meeting being held, leaders can pro-actively make their meetings more focused and effective.
What are the major problems with the meetings you attend?