Your boss has asked you to give a meeting. OK, you were kind of told you were giving the meeting. But wait—you hate meetings!? There are too many, and they’re too long. The last thing anyone needs is another boring one-hour lecture. Are you to be a part of something you despise? Calm down and take some deep breaths. With a little planning, you can show everyone how to conduct a meeting properly. You can lead the way.

Before planning a meeting, determine its purpose and consider what type of meeting is best suited to that purpose. There are many types of meetings; here are four of the basics.

How to Give a Meeting 

Four Types of Meetings

Status 

Use status meetings to stay current on project progress, activities, results, and expectations. Most status meetings should be short and to the point, primarily about the status of projects and daily activities. A status meeting isn’t best suited for discussing HOW to do it but rather WHAT needs done, WHO is doing it, and WHEN it will be completed. I’ve been involved with daily production meetings that included manufacturing, design, installation, and sales teams.

In these meetings, we discussed who was doing what, who could help who, where we stood on deadlines, and what had changed. Everyone doesn’t need to talk about procedures. Limit procedural discussions until after the meeting and make it between the parties directly involved. Conduct status meetings at the rate of status change in your organization. If change orders and new projects come in daily, you may need 10-15 minutes daily.

Tip – Having everyone stand for this meeting helps keep them short and on point.

Decision Making and Problem Solving

These meetings are the opposite of status meetings. By their nature, they will be longer and more involved. Using problem-solving techniques to identify areas of improvement can help the team establish how to overcome challenges. Brainstorming, involving the entire team in the process, opens creativity, often presenting new approaches and investing the team in a plan they helped develop. Although it may be a good idea to schedule regular problem-solving meetings, it’s common to schedule meetings as needed.

Tip – Part of your preparation should be asking attendees for their input before the meeting; you’ll know where it stands and who you can call.

Vision, Planning, and Creative 

Use this meeting type to set the course for an organization. Where are we going? What’s next? Some companies hold regularly scheduled meetings, monthly, quarterly, or yearly, while others share vision and planning as opportunities arise. This type of meeting may be a group input session, or a leader may share their vision and plans. Creating a Vision team or conducting a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) analysis are examples of this type of meeting.

Tip: Assign a meeting note-taker. It will be important to follow up on this meeting’s conclusions.

Training 

Training meetings include basic training; follow up training, safety, procedural, and policy meetings. They should be continuous, ongoing, and scheduled on a regular basis. The schedule will depend on the level of experience, how often there are procedural changes, required compliance (such as OHSA), complexity of tasks, and how often new hires come aboard.

Tip – Develop and use checklists for these meetings, especially those which you will repeat.

Are You Ready to Give a Meeting? 

By first determining the purpose of a meeting and what you want to achieve, you can plan the most effective type of meeting suited to the purpose. For example, attempting to plan in a status meeting or problem solve in a training meeting may lead to a lack of direction, a lot of confusion, and time not well spent.

Today in America more employees believe that most meetings are a waste of time. Is this true in your organization? Are there too many, too long, uncoordinated meetings using up your time or are they productive and timely?

This CNBC post, The No. 1 workplace distraction that kills productivity, according to Microsoft offers a few valuable suggestions to make meetings more productive.

How Can I Help You?

I like to help people and organizations, but I have three criteria I consider before taking an assignment – I believe in what the organization stands for, I know I can help, and it looks like fun. If you have any questions, Contact Me. 

So, does your business have a management training plan? Because, if not, many organizations, large and small, use my book, The New Manager’s Workbook a crash course in effective management, as the basis for their leadership development program. Check it out.

If you enjoyed this post you might also like Unplanned Meetings Are a Waste of Time.