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7 types of meetings (and when to use them)

By: Emily Finlay

Since the 2020 pandemic, there has been a significant shift in the understanding of and attitude toward business meetings. Today, remote meetings are just as common, if not more so, than in-person meetings. What was once seen as a waste of time may now be considered the highlight of the workday.

Despite these differences, the main purpose of meetings remains the same: to gather a group of people together to share ideas and get stuff done. In this guide, we’ll explore the different types of meetings you might arrange for your teams. You’ll learn what each option looks like, the best times to use them, and how they can benefit your team.

What are remote meetings?

Unless you worked from home, remote meetings were a relative unknown before 2020. As we mentioned above, however, they are now the default for many organizations.

Remote meetings are a virtual gathering of everyone involved in the discussion using a variety of communication technologies. The most popular way to join now is through video conferencing, but phone calls also fall under this category. Typically, each participant is connecting from a different location, so these meetings offer an easy way to bring everyone together in the same virtual space.

Generally, there isn’t a good reason to use virtual meetings when everyone is in the same office building. Instead, remote meetings should be used when your team can’t be physically present. Common scenarios include meetings with people from other branches or organizations, after-hours meetings, or emergency situations, such as a pandemic.

As we learned throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, remote meetings offer numerous benefits. Rather than relying only on emails or phone calls, you can use video conferencing to build stronger connections between participants. Screen sharing simplifies presentations, keeping everyone on the same page and invested in the discussion. They also allow you to build teams that aren’t constrained by location. No matter the distance, you can always count on strong team collaboration.

What are in-person meetings?

In contrast, in-person meetings require participants to be present in the same physical location at the same time. Generally, in-person meetings are used in situations where everyone lives and/or works in the same area, such as the same office or city. This close proximity gives participants the chance to meet face-to-face to converse and work together on any variety of projects.

Most often, in-person business meetings involve your full team in a location such as a conference room. Isolating the group helps you focus on the work you are doing together. You can share information, presentations, hold discussions, and more. Depending on the topic, you may also meet with just one or two other people.

The best time to use in-person meetings is when everyone can easily and quickly gather in the same place. They’re also ideal for work that needs physical collaboration.

In-person meetings, while typically scheduled, are also easier to hold than remote meetings. You can quickly gather your co-workers to go over any updates, allowing your projects to move faster and more smoothly. 

What are hybrid meetings?

Hybrid meetings are the result of blending both remote and in-person formats. As the world gets back to normal, you will probably see and use hybrid meetings more as your company and team adjust to regular procedures. During this type of gathering, participants will attend either in-person or through a remote communication tool. If your team includes a variety of on-site and remote workers, hybrid meetings may be the best kind of gathering to use.

For a hybrid meeting, you will gather your in-person team members in a conference room and use technology to bring your at-home workers “into the room.” You can decide whether remote workers dial in by phone or by video, but it’s important to consider the distractions video conferencing might create for everyone involved.

While hybrid meetings offer a great solution for these unique situations, they may be more trouble than they’re worth. You will have to find a way to share presentations so that everyone can see the information you’re sharing. You may also struggle to ensure everyone can hear everything said without overlooking remote workers. 

If you can successfully conduct hybrid meetings, use this option to keep your team connected. If not, it may be better to have everyone sign into a remote meeting to prevent the challenges discussed above.

Common reasons to schedule a meeting

Understanding the reason for your meeting is perhaps even more important that the type of meeting you choose. Here are some common reasons that people might schedule a meeting, and some key considerations for each. 

Brainstorming meetings

When your team is preparing to work on a project, it’s important to get feedback from everyone involved. Holding a brainstorming session allows everyone to give their input on both the subject matter and the ways to approach the work. These meetings are a great way to encourage collaboration and gain inspiration for the tasks ahead.

With so many online tools available, you can use any of the three types of meetings discussed above to facilitate a brainstorming session. Since it’s mostly discussion-focused, participants can attend in-person or remotely. By using a tool such as MindManager to gather and track ideas, you can keep everyone involved and up-to-date, no matter their location.

Along with sharing ideas, brainstorming meetings offer an opportunity to improve your performance. If someone is passionate about the idea they suggested, let them take charge of that task. This extra investment often inspires incredible results. Most importantly, group brainstorming sessions show your team that they can work better together than apart.

Decision-making meetings

Decision-making meetings are held when a team needs to make or get a final decision about something that affects them. The team will first work to gather and outline each of the available options. Once you have all of the viable choices, you can then present them as a group.

For decisions made by leadership, the meeting will include presenting the options, answering any questions the leader may have, and then waiting to hear the answer. If the team is making a collective decision, the presentation will be followed by a discussion.

For the best results, your team needs all of the relevant information available for each option. Determine the pros and cons of each, using these points to decide which option holds the most promise.

Decision-making meetings allow your team to thoroughly explore every option, increasing the chances of making the right choice. Using this knowledge, you can also better prepare for your next steps.

Team meetings

Putting people on the same team doesn’t automatically guarantee cohesion and collaboration. Team meetings are used to strengthen bonds and improve the work you’re doing together. One gathering may be used to update everyone on company policies while the next can focus on team-building exercises. As long as it is focused on strengthening your team, this type of meeting can have many forms.

Common team meetings include:

  • Short daily gatherings to go over important agenda items and share any updates
  • Team-building exercises that encourage fun through collaboration-focused activities and challenges
  • Meeting after finishing a project to discuss the work, share feedback, and determine ways to improve
  • Fun events for holidays, special occasions, or just to encourage connections between coworkers

Teams work best when everyone is happy and committed to working together. These meetings help everyone feel included and valued, promoting workplace satisfaction and dedication to your efforts. With team meetings, you can make sure that everyone is on the same page about your work and collaborative efforts. Your team will work together as a cohesive unit, giving you less headaches and more results.

Info-sharing meetings

Finally, info-sharing meetings are dedicated to deep dives into topics that are relevant to your team, projects, and organization. Unlike the short update meetings you may hold daily or several times a week, these sessions are focused on offering in-depth information. They may look like a lecture, training session, presentation, or even a debate. The meeting could include just your team, a one-on-one session, or a large event, such as a convention.

Some people struggle to stay focused during information-heavy meetings like these, so it’s generally best to limit the number of educational events you require. Keep info-sharing meetings restricted to important sessions, such as new ways to perform your work or changes to company operations.

Along with educating your team, these meetings give them a chance to learn together. They can share insights that others might not have had or ask questions that others may not have considered. With everyone gaining the same knowledge, you can tackle projects in new ways more efficiently. You can all use this information to strengthen your collaboration and results, achieving higher satisfaction for clients.

Though it may be harder to hold info-sharing meetings for remote or hybrid teams, there are many events available online. From webinars to live-streamed events, you can give everyone the opportunity to expand their knowledge and grow in their work.

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