Types of Meetings

by Steven M. Smith · 61 comments

There are different types of meetings. Each type requires a different structures and supports a different number of participants. For instance, a status (feedforward) meeting has no limit to the number of participants while a decision-making meeting produces results faster with a small number of participants.

If you want to help your teams have more effective meetings, set the participants expectations about the meeting by stating in the agenda —

  • the purpose of the meeting.
  • the type of meeting

The typical meeting types are:

  • problem-solving
  • decision-making
  • planning
  • feedforward (status reporting and new information presentations)
  • feedback (reacting and evaluating )
  • combination meetings

For instance, the agenda states that you will be a participant in a problem-solving meeting to scale the application so it supports 500 simultaneous users. That description makes it crystal clear what you are there to do. And after you participate in a number of the same type of meetings, you will know that meeting’s structure and your role.

Although it’s in the list, I don’t like combination meetings. Participants, in my experience, aren’t as focused in a combination meeting; thus the results are poor. If you insist on combination meetings, I suggest your break them into segments of different meeting types. Despite segmentation, time management for a combination meeting is more difficult than a single type of meeting because you have more than one purpose to achieve.

If you want to save yourself and your teammates time and effort, propose to management that the purpose, type, and agenda of a meeting be clearly stated in the scheduling request for every meeting.

Go the extra mile. Find out how participants rate the value of the meeting. Use that feedback to constantly adapt the design of the meeting to produce greater value.


Michael Doyle and David Straus, How to Make Meetings Work, ISBN 0-515-09048-4, pp.159-166

{ 56 comments… read them below or add one }

Mot Bola June 9, 2010 at 3:35 am

Please write by focus on types and functions


Steven M. Smith June 9, 2010 at 9:16 am

Hi Mot, Thank you for your request. I’ll see what I can do to satisfy it.


Pulith June 15, 2010 at 5:47 pm

If you include a small introduction about meetings it would be better.


Steven M. Smith June 15, 2010 at 7:56 pm

Hi Pulith, thank you for the feedback. You are the second person to suggest more information would be helpful. I’ll post something in the next week.


Sandra Dee Young July 29, 2010 at 8:19 am

have an assignment about planning meetings can you give me some ideas on this thank you.


Steven M. Smith July 29, 2010 at 11:57 am

Hi Sandra, The design for a planning meeting demonstrates a leader’s planning skills. The planning for any project, which includes a meeting, is an exercise in working backwards.

What outcome(s) are desired? The answer to that question is always more than “a plan” — it’s a plan to produce D (things as desired). A successful plan describes how to bridge the gap between D and P (things as perceived). The design for a successful planning meeting doesn’t try to build the bridge before exploring D and P.

If you have the right participants and a safe environment, exploration will create a shared understanding of both D and P. Lots of possible ways to explore; for instance, ask participants to share facts and data about D and P, which diverges the participants. Follow that by exploring how participants interpret that data (trace meaning to data elements). Follow that by exploring which meanings are most significant, which converges the participants. Your objective is to come up with a list of the most significant things about D and P.

With an understanding of D and P, you are ready to explore how to build the bridge. I like to split the participants into groups groups that work in parallel to propose elements of the plan. With each subgroup reporting periodically back to the whole group about their thinking and progress. This creates a cycle of divergence and convergence.

Note, I cannot overemphasize the importance of safety in successful planning, please see my article Safety Check.

I hope my ideas help. Wishing you success with your planning meetings.


Brightman Mangena March 22, 2011 at 9:01 am

You did a great job, keep it up. Thank you. God bless you so much.


Brightman Mangena March 22, 2011 at 9:03 am

Thank you.


Steven M. Smith March 22, 2011 at 12:17 pm

You are welcome.

DJWebMasster March 28, 2011 at 8:05 am

Hi Steven,
I apologize for the less than advanced question… but more and more I see the “drumbeat” meeting being called.
Though my impression is that the drumbeat meeting is intented to be one where you “get an overall feel for what is happening with a prject,” it seems there are MANY variations in my company, and causes much confusion when I am part of these meetings.
Can you discuss your interpretation of a “drumbeat meeting?”


Steven M. Smith March 29, 2011 at 9:28 am

Hi D, I like the term “drumbeat” meeting. Your usage is the first time I’ve heard that word used in this context. It sounds like the meeting you refer to are status meetings. The key to this type of meeting is sharing state information between participants of the project. Your company may benefit from a consistent structure for these type of meetings. The Agile Software Development community calls their status meetings a “stand-up” meeting. Although I think the stand-up component has zero value, the structure they use is excellent. See my article, Rethinking Stand-Up Meetings, for more information. Wishing you success with reducing confusion.


francis zimba May 23, 2011 at 3:05 am

sir i need the introduction of meetings and more types of meeting with full description..gudmorning.


Steven M. Smith November 6, 2012 at 9:35 am

Hi Francis, You can find the information you seek in the book referenced at the bottom of the article.


raymond June 7, 2011 at 7:11 am

what are the advantage, disadvantage , characteristics and setbacks of real time form of ad hoc meeting especially in developing countries like tanzania.


Steven M. Smith June 16, 2011 at 4:15 pm

Thank you for the question, Raymond.

I’ll bet you have more experience with ad hoc meetings in developing countries than I do. What do you think the advantages, disadvantages, characteristics and setbacks of a real time form of ad hoc meetings?


rodney November 1, 2011 at 7:27 pm

hi. sir. i just would like to ask if i can use the title “feedforward meeting”? this is in regards to a meeting to be called on various sector in the city of the proposed tax ordinance which we have already conducted the public hearing on this. our plan to have this feedforward meeting is to present the final draft of the ordinance.


Steven M. Smith November 1, 2011 at 8:16 pm

Please do. It sounds like an appropriate title.


Bhanuprakash November 14, 2011 at 12:55 am

Can you please suggest and tell me catchy name for business meeting with supervisory team.


Steven M. Smith November 20, 2011 at 12:59 pm

Hi Bhanu, I don’t know if it’s “catchy” but the standard name used in the USA is a steering committee meeting.


Bhanuprakash November 30, 2011 at 2:38 am

Thank you smith

Rizvan Khan January 19, 2012 at 10:06 am

Thanks for doing such a great job, Smith.


Steven M. Smith January 19, 2012 at 10:37 am

You are welcome, Rizvan. Thank you for the feedback.


hemant July 12, 2012 at 12:31 am

Hi tell me detail introduction of each type of meeting waiting ur rply

Elnazeer February 7, 2012 at 3:10 am

hi dear
can you kindly explain to me the differences between the following lectures,workshop,official meeting,simposium,conference and seminar IN TERMS of audience , duration, agenda and outcome .
what are best websites suites a student with alot informations about meetings management.
very happy to see your reply


Steven M. Smith February 23, 2012 at 2:48 pm

Hi Elnazeer, I’m sorry but I don’t know how to satisfy your request.


CHIPO February 16, 2012 at 6:46 am

Thanks smith for the staff.may you write about the notice required at each type of meeting and possible outcomes at each type of meeting.


Steven M. Smith February 23, 2012 at 2:46 pm

Thank you for the feedback.


grace April 2, 2012 at 2:37 am

i wish to have the explanation for the types of meetings


Steven M. Smith April 2, 2012 at 2:30 pm

Hi Grace, For a more detailed explanation, I suggest reading the referenced book.


Nancy June 1, 2012 at 4:28 am

a political meeting or rally would fall under which type of meeting?
thank you.


Steven M. Smith June 17, 2012 at 2:17 pm

Hi Nancy, The types I mentioned were intended for a business meetings rather than a political meeting. But if I had to classify a political meeting or rally, I would say they are primarily feedforward meetings. It’s primarily a one way meeting where the meeting organizers are feeding messages to the participants. These meetings can have an unlimited number of participants. My observation is that the intent for these type of meetings is to reenforce the participants shared beliefs. Being with others voicing similar views deepens a participant’s conviction about their belief(s). The more effective the rally, the more participants come to believe that their point of view is vital and bigger than just them.


Gabrielle July 24, 2012 at 2:40 am

Hello, I was wondering if you can help me? and help me find out what the main features of each meeting criteria is? Get back to me when you can thank you.


Steven M. Smith August 24, 2012 at 10:47 am

Sorry, Gabrielle. I won’t be able to help.


asomeleze August 7, 2012 at 4:51 am

discribe the various types of of meetings held on a construction site ;thier purpose and who should attend


Steven M. Smith August 24, 2012 at 10:46 am

Thank you for the feedback. I don’t have experience with construction site meetings.


victor August 24, 2012 at 6:02 am

Hi. Steve,
Thanks for the information on meetings. I think it were better if you classified meetings such as Annual General Meetings, Statutory and such like pls.


Steven M. Smith August 24, 2012 at 10:44 am

Thank you for the feedback, Victor.


Evelyn November 5, 2012 at 8:20 pm

Hello, Steven, I have an assignment about developing successful meetings. what do you suggest me to write such topic, how to develop my logical ideas about this topic.
Thank you!


Steven M. Smith November 5, 2012 at 8:57 pm

Hi Evelyn, I suggest you write about three situations when YOU participated in a meeting and it resulted in your time being wasted. What can YOU do to prevent a recurrence when similar situations happen in the future? Use these key meeting elements to analyze the problems — a clear purpose for the meeting, the necessary participants (and no one else), objectives to be accomplished, and a plan for accomplishing the objectives. Best wishes for writing an engaging paper.


Evelyn November 6, 2012 at 6:00 am

I really appreciate that!

Steven M. Smith November 6, 2012 at 9:33 am

You are welcome, Evelyn. A key element I missed was meeting type. Please use it too.


Charity Motsamai November 14, 2012 at 1:19 am

i would like to know extile the types of a meeting eg annual meetings and the other ones bt of that examples of yours i dont understand


Steven M. Smith November 14, 2012 at 9:11 am

Hi Charity, I would classify the types of annual meeting I have attended as a combination meeting. Meeting I have experienced have agenda items that do feedforward (status reporting and new information presentations), feedback (reacting and evaluating) and decision-making.


sabir rehmat November 18, 2013 at 11:14 am

sir i have presentation of meeting types stages preparation during and after so send full fledged material i prepare my self thanks ..

Tina April 10, 2014 at 4:52 pm

Hi Steven,
I am looking for a catchy phrase for an educational meeting to be held in the workplace where the purpose of the meeting is to allow a small group of people to meet with a more senior team member. I would like to have this meeting once a month, order lunch, and generally set a relaxed, congenial environment where junior team members can pepper the more experienced team member with questions. I could provide a theme or different topic for each meeting or keep them meeting free flowing. I have attended meetings in the past called “blue sky” but that doesn’t seem quite right. Do you have any suggested meeting titles for me? Many thanks, Tina


Steven M. Smith April 11, 2014 at 7:44 pm

Hi Tina, Are you familiar with the naming heuristic? Gather a few people who truly care the meeting’s name. First proposes a name. Next the group explores three reasons why the name is inadequate. Then someone proposes another name that eliminates the problem. Repeat until a useful name is developed.

Wishing you success,


ROMANI DENISHYA April 11, 2014 at 9:36 pm

Sir, I need a deep explanation on the topic of “The types of meeting with examples” !
It will help me a lot for my studies if you provide the solution for this question!


Steven M. Smith July 5, 2014 at 7:42 am

Hi Romani, Please check out the material I referenced.


kefale Getu May 21, 2014 at 12:29 pm

hi sir,i do have to say thank you for providing us more of your knowledge online by putting lots of role playing descriptions with a persuasive clarification of meetings which of course play their ground in making lots of our declined and inclined problems got well-managed. i read that you said in one of you above responses and i feel a bit disagree with that.that is actually about reference books.you know as many people may not get such books,especially people who are away from where there are libraries and stationary.so online is better in my view,and please try to add more.thank you for all.


Steven M. Smith July 5, 2014 at 7:40 am

Hi Kefale, I wish I could make all the information you and others might want on this topic available online. But I can’t. That’s why I include references to further reading.


Garth July 22, 2014 at 5:49 am

I need to retitle a group that meets once a week in our school. The purpose is to share what is happening in their niche: finances, admissions, security, etc. It can’t be called administration and the members aren’t really department heads. It seems like a status meeting to me, but the structure of the school really wants a name for the group that meets. Status Meeting Committee? Is there a better name?


Steven M. Smith July 25, 2014 at 8:47 am

Hi Garth, How about just “Status Meeting?”


Jane Nakato June 11, 2015 at 5:19 am

Hi,I really need to know more about types of meetings and each type briefly explain purpose for meetings,give reference too,


Steven M. Smith June 21, 2015 at 10:38 am

Hi Jane, Please start your research with reference in this article. Wishing you success with the research.


friday March 3, 2016 at 2:51 pm

to me i think there are two types of meeting and thy are as follow.(1) public meeting and (2)private meeting


Steven M. Smith June 29, 2016 at 6:58 pm

Thank you for your feedback.


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