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Different Types of Business Meetings: Choosing the Right One

written by: theMallorys•edited by: Ginny Edwards•updated: 4/2/2011

Different types of business meetings can be used to keep team members engaged and attentive. Whether it’s a 10-minute meeting or a week-long retreat, you have to choose the right kind of meeting to accomplish your goals. Using different formats can also break up the monotony of business meetings.

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    Whether you’re a manager who has to plan a meeting or an employee, there are different types of business meetings that you need to be aware of. Each type of meeting is geared towards the intent and message being conveyed. Choosing the wrong type of business meeting can lead to meeting fatigue among staff members, and the information presented may not be retained by attendees as well. Here’s a list of several types of meetings, and when it’s best to choose them.

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    Type 1: Stand Up Meetings

    A stand up meeting is a quick meeting designed to get attendees in and out as quickly as possible. The purpose of standing up is that attendees will become visibly uncomfortable or irritated if the meeting drags on. To avoid that, the manager and others in the meeting will limit their questions and discussions to keep the meeting short, often 10 minutes or less. It’s best used to:

    • Discuss a to-do list for the day
    • Get project status and address challenges faced by team members
    • Schedule other types of meetings

    Keep the same format for each stand up meeting in order to stay within the 10 minute time frame.

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    Type 2: Product Development Meeting

    1191021 silhouette business people One of the types of business meetings that can be fun for all who attend is the product development meeting. It’s an opportunity for all in attendance to express their creativity, and to play an important role for the company they work for. These meetings are set aside to discuss new products to launch or new niche markets to target. When done right, the manager facilitates the conversation, but lets the employees do most of the talking. Ideas are shared, discussed and even debated. Product development meetings are often “sit down" meetings, although there may be group activities planned that require attendees to stand from time to time, such as to write down group answers on a newsprint posted on the wall. Each meeting may take a couple of hours, and so it helps when coffee and snacks are available.

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    Type 3: Presentation Meetings

    There are times when a company leader, trainer or supervisor has to impart knowledge and the meeting attendees are there to absorb and learn the information. Unlike the other types of business meetings discussed so far, a presentation is mostly a one-way conversation and offers the least opportunity for interaction. Presentations can be scheduled for an entire day, but it’s best to break each up into 45 to 50 minute segments. Longer presentations may cause attendees to lose interest and concentration.

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    Type 4: Company Retreats

    One meeting that takes place away from the office in most cases is a company retreat. It’s the best format for long-term planning and strategic goal setting. Managers often choose retreats to strengthen bonds between team members. A company retreat can last for a day or for several days and is sponsored and paid for by the company. If there’s a big budget, then a company retreat may take place in another state or country, with travel expenses, hotel stays and meals paid for.

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    When the types of business meetings line up with the objectives of the managers, the meetings are effective. Time is saved and attendees are more willing to be engaged and participate.

    Image Credit: Jana Koll / stock.xchng