The objective of any business meeting should be to create value for the organization. Many business managers today get lost in the “day to day” task of keeping the business flowing and lose sight of the ultimate goal, to create value. Meetings are very often a casualty of this syndrome and can often be an early sign that you are in “fire fighting” mode.
So why should we concern ourselves with the different types of business meetings? The answer is simple, the first step toward generating value from your business meeting is to understand the intended outcome and ensuring that the outcome produces value.
How does a Business Meeting Create Value?
Let’s first discuss how a business meeting can produce value for an organization. And to do that we must first understand what value means to your organization. Now, it is worth mentioning that if you do not have a clear understanding of what value means for your company, you may want to start there.
It is safe to say that all businesses exist for one purpose… value creation. A business exists to provide a product or a service in such a way that the business generates a profit. And well profit is value. Now businesses today can create value in many ways; they create jobs, help the community, service customers, pay taxes and much more, but the ultimate goal is profit.
Because value creation is the main goal of any business and we are discussing how business meetings can create value, we should fully understand how to identify value, measure value and what determines success regarding value creation:
- Define what value means for your organization
- Develop goals regarding the value that you intend to create
- Develop metrics to measure or quantify the value
As mentioned above, value can be created in may ways, as an example increased employee knowledge is valuable to an organization, as is developing a relationship with an existing customer. So value can come in may forms, the understanding what value looks like and determining how it can be measured.
10 Common Types of Business Meetings
Below we have listed what we consider to be the ten most common types of business meetings. Along with each type, we have provided a summary of what a successful meeting might include and provided suggestions for that style of meeting.
We will assume that everyone understands the fundamentals of a successful meeting and the topic of how to hold an effective meeting will not be include in this article. If you wish to read more about the fundamentals of effective meetings click the link below:
Here is our list of 10 Common Types of Business Meetings:
Project Update/Status Meeting – Any project that involves more than a couple of employees will likely need project status meetings. Usually the Project Manager will schedule the meeting and be the facilitator. It is not uncommon for a project status meeting to have a set agenda and include updates from each area of responsibility.
Project Status meetings can be a valuable tool for the entire team, but left uncontrolled a project meeting can become a gripe session quickly and lose all worth. Members of the team should be encouraged to discuss challenges, but should also respect the agenda and keep finger pointing to a minimum.
Here are a few agenda items that a project status meeting might include:
- Updates from each area of responsibility
- Measuring progress toward established timelines
- Budget considerations
- Scheduled changes or delays
- Safety issues
- Risk Analysis for new tasks
- Assigning owners for project related tasks
As mentioned in the outline, a well planned project will have an established schedule and an established budget. The success of the project will not only depend on its completion, but on completing the project on schedule and on budget.
Training Meeting – Training is often conducted in a group setting, but the format that a training meeting might take can vary greatly. We will discuss a few of the topics that a training meeting might focus on and several types of training meetings.
Here is a list of the types of training you may want to conduct in a group setting:
- Good Manufacturing Practices
- Customer Service and/or New Clients
- New Employee Orientation
- Harrasment Prevention and Diversity
- Team Building
- Time Management
- Employee Benefits Updates
You may find that some of the topics described above are actually required by law and it is critical that every organization understand the requirements of local, state and federal governments as it pertains to training. When training is regulated bu one agency or another, the training should always be documented and the records retained.
As mentioned, training meetings can take many forms and depending on the subject matter, a training meeting may be anywhere from informal to mandatory and highly controlled. A brief and often informal style of meeting is commonly called a “toolbox talk”. A toolbox talk is very often held at the beginning of any given shift or day of operation. These talks are generally brief updates of the days objectives and a reminder to work safely.
New Employee Orientation is a type of training meeting that may occupy the entire first day or even the first few days of an employees time with his/her company. New employee orientation might include topics such as, safety training, quality expectations, company policies and procedures, harassment prevention, diversity and much more.
Information Sharing Meetings – There are a few reasons why an organization may want to share information in a group setting. Typically, an information sharing meeting will take place when more immediate forms of communication will not be adequate. Very often the meeting facilitator might expect a large volume of questions about the topic and would prefer to answer them once for the entire group.
Information sharing meetings may look very much like a training meeting, but are less regimented and are typically not documented. The purpose of the meeting is to ensure that the information has been conveyed and move on.
Decision Making Meeting – A well run organization will operate as a team and when your company is team oriented you may want to make decisions as a team; hence the need for a decision-making meeting. This type of meeting can have an interesting dynamic, because you may not want to delay a decision with a lengthy discussion among team member, yet it can be important that you obtain team input.
The success of a well managed decision-making meeting can depend greatly on the preparation. The meeting agenda should clearly describe the intended outcome and the options should be clearly defined as well. Of course, the purpose of such a meeting is to come to a decision about a particular subject, but more importantly you may be looking for consensus and “buy-in among the team.
The subject of “buy-in” is important enough to warrant its own discussion and we are planning a post dedicated to art of team building, so watch for that. In the mean time, understand that decisions made during a team decision-making meeting may not please everyone involved, however a good facilitator of such a meeting will attempt to make sure the entire team is on-board with the outcome of the meeting.
Problem Solving Meeting – Pretty straight forward goal with this type of meeting. The team has a problem and the group is tasked with developing a solution. But the interesting thing about problem solving meeting is the wide variety of tools available to the facilitator.
Here again, we will likely devote an entire post to problem solving tools, but for the purpose of this discussion we will provide this list of possible tools:
- Brain Stroming
- Gap Analysis
- Force Field Diagrams
- 5 WHYs Analysis
- Plan, Do, Check, Act Cycles
- Fishbone Diagrams
- Risk Assessment
As with many of the other types of meetings discussed, the facilitator of a problem-solving meeting should take particular care to keep the meeting focused on the intended outcome. Team members are likely to have a diversity of ideas for solving the given problem. Be sure to include everyone and garner consensus among the group.
Business Development Meeting – Businesses reevaluate their business plan, place in the market and customer base all the time. To remain competitive and profitable an organization must continually develop new and better strategies.
Conducting business development meetings is a necessary means to remain focused on the ultimate goal of most businesses, to make a profit. Here are some agenda items that might help with business development:
- Are we the type of business that we have planned to be?
- Are we the best in our current market? And if not, how do we get there?
- How is our business currently running? Are we profitable?
- How does the market look in the foreseeable future?
- Do we have room to grow if demand increases?
- What is the competition doing? Are we meeting or exceeding their progress?
- What are our business priorities? Are we giving priorities the proper attention?
- Is our business growing?
- Do we have a business continuity plan? Is it effective and current?
- Are we meeting our customers needs?
Team Building Meeting – Personally this is my favorite type of meeting. I have no idea why more organizations do not spent significant time developing teams. There are thousands of team building drills, projects and games and exercises all designed to make the teams within your organization more effective.
Motivational / Culture Building Meeting – Motivational meetings may be held more commonly in service oriented organizations. Sales Groups, Customer Service Teams and quantity driven organizations may also benefit from an occasional motivational pep talk.
Emergency Meeting – The purpose of an Emergency meeting may not be to deal with an actual emergency, rather the purpose may be to establish a level of importance to the given subject. As an example, if a serious quality issue arises with a given product, a manager may choose to halt production and conduct an emergency meeting.
The unusual nature of taking such drastic action to halt production and lose valuable manufacturing time will make all who are involved keenly aware of the importance of the subject matter.