5 Types of Meetings: All You Need to Know for Successful Meetings

Let me guess:

More or less every week, you attend at least a few meetings.

In that case, you probably sit through different types of meetings. There are meetings where you share information, meetings where you make decisions, and meetings where you brainstorm.

Obviously, these different meetings have different objectives. To achieve those objectives, you need to consider these differences when setting up and holding a meeting.

In the following, we’ll look at five different types of meetings and what you should consider in relation to each meeting type to make your meetings as successful and useful as possible:


1. Decision-making meetings

types of meetings

This is the most common meeting type. Decision-making meetings are all about (you guessed it!) making decisions.

At the same time, decision-making meetings often get derailed and in the end, they don’t result in any tangible results. The main reasons are:

Not enough information. Meeting attendees come unprepared to the meeting room. The only information they have is that a decision is to be made on a certain issue, such as a deadline for a project.

Meeting participants can only rely on the information they have prior to the meeting. Inevitably, they have their own perspectives on the issue being discussed. If a decision is made during the meeting, it’s not necessarily informed or thought through.

Difficulty in deciding: If meeting participants don’t have enough information, the meeting will largely be about information sharing. Subsequently, it turns into a discussion about the issue, rather than about the decision. Ultimately, no decision is made.

Fortunately, decision-making meetings can be turned into effective sessions where important decisions are made.

The trick is to frontload most of the work to before the meeting. Here’s what Stever Robbins recommends over on Harvard Business Review:

 “Never call a meeting to make a decision. Work with people one on one, and then call the meeting to let the group share and own the decision that’s been made.”

When there’s clear consensus on the meeting’s purpose before the meeting, it’s easier to focus on the decision-making during the meeting. For example, your team might brainstorm alternative decisions and decide on one of them.

What you need to think about:

  • Agenda. Focus on creating a clear agenda that outlines what you’ve concluded from your one-on-one sessions with your co-workers.
  • Meeting manager. As a meeting manager, you play an important role. Make sure everyone’s on the same page before the meeting.
  • Participants. Meeting participants should be well prepared before the meeting. You help them by holding one-on-one sessions and sending out the agenda before the meeting.


2. Innovation meetings


Innovation is key to every successful organization. That’s why innovation meetings are some of the most important meetings. During innovation meetings, team members get to brainstorm and share ideas. But, how do you hold successful innovation meetings?

There are three things you’ll want to get right:

Taking notes. During an innovation meeting, you need to keep track of all the insights that your team comes up with. This is not always an easy task, considering that innovation meetings are creative and can include a lot of, in the end, irrelevant brainstorming. Still, you’ll want to appoint a secretary, who keeps track of all the ideas that your co-workers come up with.

Following through. The outcome of innovation meetings can feel abstract and hard to grasp. After all, this meeting type is all about coming up with ideas. However, to ensure that you and your team follows through on the ideas, you should make sure that your follow-up notes are as clear and actionable as possible. You can do this by assigning tasks to meeting participants and turning ideas into concrete goals.

Participation. For innovation meetings to make sense, all participants should be innovating together. But how do you get meeting participants to get creative in a structured way? How do you ensure that they all participate and come with fresh ideas?

For this meeting type, you might need to think outside the box. Instead of holding your meeting in a meeting room, you might take it outside. After all, nature can ignite creativity. You might even consider giving meeting participants creative tasks before the meeting to get them in a creative mode before the meeting.

What you need to think about:

  • Agenda. Send out an agenda, but remember that meeting participants might need to step outside of this agenda when they throw around ideas.
  • Meeting manager. Your job is to make it easier for participants to get creative. At the same time, you’ll need to ensure that the meeting doesn’t get completely derailed when meeting participants discuss ideas. You can do this by asking everyone to prepare an idea before the meeting and then discuss those ideas during the meeting.
  • Participants. Give participants space, while at the same time ensuring that your meeting isn’t longer than the recommended 30 minutes.


3. Information sharing meetings

types of meetings

Information sharing meetings are all about informing attendees about a specific issue or sharing information. This type of meeting is usually educational, such as seminars and panel debates.


An agency has accepted a project in a certain niche, such as medical technology. To educate and update team members on this project and the topic, an information sharing meeting is set up. During the seminar, expert speakers hold talks about different aspects of the topic.

In order to hold a successful meeting, meeting organizers need to keep meeting participants engaged.

The main problem is that outside speakers, in particular, can have a hard time ensuring that the information they share is personalized for your organization. For example, the might not know how much meeting participants already know about the topic that’s being discussed.

Subsequently, meeting participants should be asked to give feedback before the meeting. This way, speakers have a more solid basis for creating a presentation that works for your organization. In our example above, meeting participants would be asked to share their knowledge about medical technology.

What you need to think about:

  • Agenda. The agenda is extremely important for a successful information sharing meeting. Make sure that you set clear expectations for meeting participants and tie the meeting program to real-world cases.
  • Meeting manager. You hold the meeting and act as a link between the participants and the speaker. At the same time, the speaker is in a key role for engaging participants.
  • Participants. Give participants tasks and other material that they can use during and after the meeting to help them remember what was said during the meeting.


4. Status update meetings

Types of meetings

Status update meetings are all about sharing project updates and keeping your team on top of decisions in your organization.

Ironically, the main problem with this type of meeting is that information is not always effectively shared. If you prep participants during the meeting, vital information might be left out. Your co-workers are not necessarily on the same page, and subsequently, the meeting ends up being nothing more than a distraction and a waste of time.

To hold successful status update meetings, you need to recognize that this meeting is all about sharing information before the meeting. Update participants about the issue before the meeting and remind them what outcomes you want for a particular project.

What you need to think about:

  • Agenda. Put a lot of effort into creating an agenda that helps participants stay on the same page during the meeting.
  • Meeting manager. Your role is to a) remind everyone what the issue you’re discussing is about and b) share the status of what you’re currently discussing.
  • Participants. Participants don’t necessarily need to have a lot of input during the meeting, but you should follow up afterward. That way, you make sure that everyone agrees on what you discussed during the meeting.


5. Team building meetings

types of meetings

Company culture is more important than ever.

Team building meetings help your team work better together. In other words, if you’re not already organizing team building meetings, you’re missing out.

When holding team building meetings, there are a few things you need to think about:

  • Who do you invite? Your entire team, departments or working groups?
  • What kind of meeting do you want to hold?
  • What’s the purpose of your meeting? Improving teamwork? Increasing happiness at the workplace? Something else?

Team building meetings can include anything from discussions to games and motivational speakers. Don’t rule anything out- instead, create a meeting that aligns with and reinforces your company culture.

What you need to think about:

  • Agenda. For a successful meeting, you need to be very specific about the objectives in your agenda. Include activities that help you achieve those objectives.
  • Meeting manager. Your primary role is to ensure that the group dynamic works well and that your company culture is nurtured.
  • Participants. This meeting is all about the participants. An easy way to ensure that everyone has a good time at your meeting is to ask team members to come up with activities before the meeting.


Conclusion: Start using different types of meetings the right way

Every meeting has an objective.

Subsequently, different meeting types have different objectives. Such meeting types are:

  • Decision-making meetings,
  • Innovation meetings,
  • Information sharing meetings,
  • Status update meetings and
  • Team building meetings.

While each type of meeting has its own goals and objectives, there are certain things that combine them. Most importantly, they all require you to plan ahead and hold meetings according to your organization’s individual needs.

Write a comment below and let me know:

What type of meeting is most important for your organization? Is there a meeting type you would add to the list above?

By |November 15th, 2016|Meetings|5 Comments