Seth Godin blogs about Three Kinds of Meetings:
There are only three kinds of classic meetings:
Information. This is a meeting where attendees are informed about what is happening (with or without their blessing). While there may be a facade of conversation, it’s primarily designed to inform.
Discussion. This is a meeting where the leader actually wants feedback or direction or connections. You can use this meeting to come up with an action plan, or develop a new idea, for example.
Permission. This is a meeting where the other side is supposed to say yes but has the power to say no.
PLEASE don’t confuse them. Confused meeting types are the number one source of meeting ennui. One source of confusion is that a meeting starts as one sort of meeting and then magically morphs into another kind. The reason this is frightening is that one side or the other might not realize that’s actually occurring.
People waste countless hours in meetings with murky goals. Worse, each person may come out of such a meeting with different conclusions, spreading the confusion further in the organization.
Even when a meeting has a clear purpose, if there’s no clear way to achieve that purpose, the meeting will not be as effective (or short) as it could be. Another waste of time.
People, people, people.
Improving the quality of meetings is a small intervention that can bring significant improvements to an organization. So don’t overlook it even if improving meetings isn’t shiny or sexy. Be a master of the obvious. Get the basics right, and you’ll have a stronger foundation for the fancy stuff.
More ideas on how to improve meetings: