shared Types of Participative Meetings
There are many types of meetings. Most meetings fall into the non-participatory category, where attendees are briefed on new information instead of asked to participate in the meeting course of action. The best meetings are highly participative, where everyone in the meeting contributes to the purpose of having the meeting. When scheduling a meeting, ask “What kind of meeting or approach best fits the purpose and meeting attendees?” This will help in calculating if more than one kind of meeting needs to be held or if a combination of meeting types is possible. Consider the definition and shared uses for the different types of participative meetings; such as decision-making, list generation, problem solving, project planning, or strategic planning. Then determine which best fits the purpose and participative needs of upcoming meetings during the planning stage.
Decision-making meetings review different alternatives and decide on best alternatives to select for implementation by a stated deadline. This kind of meeting requires that meaningful decision makers attend and should be held if the group is required to make and then sustain or carry out the decision. The tool used most often in decision making is a Pro/Con list. However for a highly complicated or technical decision a criteria grid may provide a better consequence.
List Generation meetings will create a list of ideas, alternatives, solutions, issues, etc. for discussion. After creating the list, a discussion to thin the list may follow in the same meeting, prioritizing or voting on the list of items may occur, the list may go to someone else to work with, or planning of another kind of meeting may follow for employing the list. Brainstorming is the easiest and more popular tool used for list generation. Diagramming tools such as mind mapping or fishbone may also be used as they use specific categories to focus the list generation.
Problem Solving meetings are used to resolve business and course of action problems or to determine possible issues and how to manager them. These problems could reference production, quality, sets, or other things. In order for problem solving to work, those closest to the problem must participate, in other words representatives of each area affected by the problem should agree that a problem exists and be involved in finding the solution. This is seldom a single meeting as it typically takes a series of meetings to move by the time of action that includes problem definition, research, examination, solution selection, testing, and implementation. Problem solving requires a defined course of action and method to root out the true problem and then find the best solution. Many great tools exist for this purpose under the topic of quality improvement.
Project Planning meetings are specialized to a certain task, job, or project and extend by planning and implementing the project from opening until end of project. These meetings work best when they consist of project team members, leaders, and sponsors or customers. Additional project related meetings may be for project plan updates, solving problems, reviewing budget, celebrating achieved milestones, and evaluating risks. The tools used in project meetings will include the project schedule listing phases and milestones, in addition as many of the same tools typically used in list generation, problem solving, and decision making.
Strategic Planning meetings are typically held yearly to determine the strategy of a group or organization. The results of such meetings are usually vision, mission, goals, business ventures, and future direction. The strategic planning meeting may be one long meeting or several meetings spread out over a stated period. After defining the strategy, then a communication plan or deployment plan is developed. Future meetings are typically position of plan accomplishment, problem solving, or other needed revisions to the strategy and consequently no longer called strategic planning but instead change management. A tool often found useful in this kind of meeting is a SWOT examination regarding the business efforts, products, or sets of the group or organization. SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.
With an understanding of the definition and shared uses for different types of participative meetings, it should be easier to determine which best fits the purpose and participative needs of upcoming meetings. It is important to remember that the best meetings are highly participative, where everyone in the meeting contributes to the purpose of holding the meeting. consequently, always before scheduling a meeting, ask “What kind of meeting or approach best fits the purpose and meeting attendees?” Determine if the meeting purpose is decision-making, list generation, problem solving, project planning, or strategic planning and then select the meeting kind and the best tool to use to accomplish the meeting purpose.
observe: The types of meeting listed in this article and their definition are alternation from the book “R.A!R.A! A Meeting Wizard’s Approach.”