Do you know what your meeting style is? This is different from the type of meeting you’re hosting (though knowing that is equally important). Instead, the meeting style dictates what the tone of the meeting will be, rather than what is being shared or discussed.
“The type of meeting drives the agenda. Make it crystal clear what the objective of the meeting is, and what you need from the people you are asking time from.” – Medium
Your meeting style should be clear in advance of the meeting so that all participants are prepared before they walk into the room. So, what meeting styles do you have to choose from? There are three different ones; information share, creative discussion, and consensus decision. This blog is here to teach you about each so that you can be more prepared for your next meeting!
Meeting Style 1: Information Share
The ‘information share’ meeting style consists of information flowing in one direction only. This is either ‘up’ to leadership from employees or ‘down’ from leadership to employees. It’s a one way street of giving and receiving information.
“These meetings are all about (you guessed it!) informing attendees about a specific issue or sharing information. Depending on the setting, there are several goals that would lead you to choose an information-sharing meeting. Most of the time they are educational, such as with seminars, presentations, and lectures.” – Gaiku.
Requests for clarification can be entertained during this type of meeting, but there’s no real debate or discussion.
Meeting Style 2: Creative Discussion
‘Creative discussion’ meetings revolve around the process of brainstorming and getting ideas out on the table without making any solid decisions about the feasibility or validity of what’s produced.
“Innovation meetings and creative meetings often start with thinking outside the box, by brainstorming, associating, and sharing ideas in a broad scope.” – Meeting Sift
During this style of meeting, it’s critical that employees understand that at a later date key stakeholders will make decisions using the information collected.
Meeting Style 3: Consensus Decision
When decisions need to be made, the meeting style ‘consensus decision’ should be held. These styles of meetings tend to get pretty heated. Passionate feelings will almost certainly be expressed, hopefully in a respectful manner.
Despite any conflicts that may arise, all participants must reach a consensus. It’s in the name! Once you’ve concluded the meeting, all feelings and conflicts should be left in the meeting room. Never continue the discussion outside of the meeting. In meetings that are sure to create conflict, there need to be boundaries.
As a leader, you need to make the meeting style clear to everyone attending. It’s important that people know what they’re going into. If a decision needs to be made, people need to know it’s a ‘consensus decision’ and be prepared to make a decision and deal with the conflicts of that. If it’s a ‘creative discussion’ people need to know so that they come into the meeting with ideas. If it’s an ‘information share’ people need to know if they’re the ones listening or sharing. If they’re sharing, they need to know to be prepared.
If you’re hosting a meeting, you need to know what you’re doing. Make sure your meeting style is clear before every single meeting. It will save you time and increase productivity immensely!
If you have questions or would like more information, I’d be happy to help. Please send an email, and my team will get in touch with you!
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in September 2011 and has been edited for accuracy and comprehensiveness.