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Master Every Type of Meeting Like a Pro (Yes, Even the Boring Ones!)

This guide dives into different types of meetings, and gives you expert tips for making them rock, and even some sneaky tricks to look like you know what's up.
by Chris Allmer | May 27 2024
How to Master Every Type of Meeting Like a Pro

Let’s be honest, meetings have a bit of a bad reputation. They’re often seen as time-wasting, productivity-killing black holes. 

And let’s face it, with the average American spending 4 to 12 hours a week in meetings (and another 10 hours drafting emails about them!), it’s no wonder we sometimes feel like we’re talking about work more than actually doing it.

But if you do them right, meetings can be a powerhouse for collaboration, innovation, and decision-making. The key is to understand the different types of meetings and how to make each one of them count.

In this guide, we’ll dive into the world of meetings – the good, the bad, and the ugly. 

We’ll explore the various types of meetings you’ll encounter in the workplace, from brainstorming sessions to decision-making meetings that seal the deal.

 And we’ll also uncover expert tips and strategies, including some great, reads, to make every meeting more productive and engaging, and less like a chore.

So, whether you’re a seasoned meeting pro or a newbie just starting out, get ready to transform your meeting game. 
 

The 5 Types of Meetings

1. Brainstorming Sessions

Brainstorming sessions are your idea factories, where the goal is to generate a flood of ideas, no matter how unconventional.

How to Make Brainstorming Sessions Work: 

  • Set a clear, focused question or problem to solve. 
  • Encourage participation from everyone, even the quietest voices. 
  • Use visual aids or tools like mind maps to capture ideas. 
  • Don’t criticize or judge ideas during the brainstorming phase – save the evaluation for later.

If you and your team need to work on your creative flow, check out our book summary “Thinkertoys” by Michael Michalko. You’ll learn creative thinking techniques and exercises designed to help you generate innovative ideas and solve problems in entirely new ways.

Thinkertoys” Michael Michalko

 

2. Decision-Making Meetings 

When it’s time to make a decision, these meetings bring everyone together to consider the options and come to an agreement.

How to Make Decision-Making Meetings Work:

  • Prepare an agenda with clear decision points. 
  • Gather all relevant information and data beforehand. 
  • Assign a facilitator to keep the discussion on track and ensure everyone’s voice is heard.
  • Clearly define the decision-making process (consensus, voting, etc.).

To make good decisions, avoid holding meetings when people are tired or stressed. Schedule them for times when energy and focus are high.

 

3. Status Update Meetings 

These regular check-ins are intended to monitor project progress, share updates, and identify any potential roadblocks.

How to Make Status Update Meetings Work

  • Keep them brief and focused. 
  • Use visuals like dashboards or progress reports to convey information quickly.
  • Encourage questions and discussion, but avoid getting bogged down in details
  • Focus on identifying solutions to any obstacles that arise.

If you need some more pointers on how to make your meetings less boring, check out “How to Fix Meetings” by Graham Allcott and Hayley Watts. They’re all about turning those yawn-inducing meetings into productive, collaborative experiences.

How to Fix Meetings” by Graham Allcott and Hayley Watts

 

4. One-on-One Meetings

These are your chance to connect with your manager or team members on a personal level, discuss individual goals, performance feedback, or build rapport.

How to Make One-on-One Meetings Work

  • Come prepared with questions or topics to discuss. 
  • Actively listen to the other person and show genuine interest. 
  • Be open and honest in your communication. 
  • Use the meeting to build trust and strengthen your relationship.

Have you heard of the “The Surprising Science of Meetings” by Steven G. Rogelberg? He’s got some great insights about one-on-one meetings. They’re not just for checking in on tasks—they’re a secret weapon for building trust, getting your team fired up, and even discovering hidden talents.

The Surprising Science of Meetings” by Steven G. Rogelberg

 

5. Team-Building Meetings

These focus on fostering relationships and trust within your team through fun activities, games, or discussions.

How to Make Team-Building Meetings Work

  • Choose activities that are inclusive and engaging for everyone. 
  • Set clear goals for the meeting, such as improving communication or strengthening collaboration. 
  • Create a relaxed and informal atmosphere where people feel comfortable sharing and having fun.

Cameron Herold, author of “Meetings Suck,” even argues that team-building meetings should be more than just a break from work. They should be strategically designed to achieve specific goals, whether it’s improving morale, boosting creativity, or fostering a sense of camaraderie.

“Meetings Suck” by Cameron Herold

So, if you want to ditch boring meetings for good, check out Blinkist’s “More Effective Meetings in 7 Days” collection. You’ll find quick, easy-to-digest summaries of the books mentioned here, plus many more – all designed to help you become a meeting master in no time.


 

Blinkist’s Strategies for More Effective Meetings

Alright, now that you know the basics of different types of meetings, let’s explore some actionable tips for making every meeting count. 

We’ve gathered expert advice, so get ready to transform your meeting game!

1. Define the Goal:

Don’t just meet for the sake of meeting. Before sending out those calendar invites, take a moment to clearly define the purpose of your meeting. 

  • What do you hope to achieve? 
  • What decisions need to be made? 
  • What information needs to be shared?

2. Set a Clear Agenda:

Think of your agenda as a roadmap for your meeting. It outlines the topics to be discussed, the time allotted for each, and any relevant materials or pre-reading. Share it with participants in advance so they can come prepared and ready to contribute.

3. Focus on Time Management:

Respect everyone’s time by starting and ending on time. Stick to the agenda, allocate time for each topic, and avoid going off on tangents. 

If a discussion needs extra time, let’s schedule a dedicated meeting to tackle it. If time management is a challenge, don’t worry, there are plenty of resources to support you. 

To kick things off, take a look at our article “How to Improve Time Management: 20 Tips to Help You Master Your Schedule” for some valuable quick tips. 

4. Encourage Participation: 

Meetings shouldn’t be a one-person show. Create a safe space for everyone to share their ideas and opinions. Encourage quieter participants to speak up and actively listen to what everyone has to say.

5. Assign Action Items:

Don’t let your meeting end without clear takeaways. Assign specific action items to individuals with clear deadlines. This ensures everyone knows their responsibility and helps move projects forward.

Blinkist’s Bonus Tip:

Consider using technology to your advantage. Tools like video conferencing, collaborative whiteboards, and project management software can streamline communication and make your meetings more engaging.

Remember: A well-structured meeting should have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Start by reviewing the agenda and setting expectations, then move through the topics, and finally, summarize key takeaways and action items.

At Least Be Smart!

Let’s face it, even with the best intentions, some types of meetings just don’t hit the mark. But don’t worry, today’s expert tips on mastering different types of meetings can transform your gatherings into productive, efficient, and dare we say, enjoyable experiences.

And if you need a little extra help to look like a meeting pro (who doesn’t?), check out our book summary of “100 Tricks to Appear Smart in Meetings.” Sometimes, faking it until you make it is the way to go.

So, are you ready to dive deeper into the world of effective meetings? Blinkist has got you covered with a 7-day free trial that gives you access to all the books mentioned in this guide (and thousands more!). 

Start your free 7-day trial

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