What Are the Two Main Types of Meetings

What Are the Two Main Types of Meetings?

What Are the Two Main Types of Meetings

What Are the Two Main Types of Meetings?


Formal meetings are those which are planned and organized with a clear agenda and purpose. They are conducted in a professional environment and are attended by a set of pre-determined participants. Formal meetings are highly structured with a defined beginning and end and have a strict adherence to the agenda throughout the meeting.

What Are the Two Main Types of Meetings

Characteristics of Formal Meetings:

  • Agenda: A well-detailed agenda including topics that are to be covered in the meeting, in the order of discussion and the time allocated for each is present for every formal meeting.
  • Protocol: Specific protocol exists including the order of speaking, Robert’s Rules of Order or other parliamentary procedures and role of the MPs.
  • Documentation: Minutes will always be taken and distributed after the formal meeting including the highlights of the discussions, decisions made, who made which points and the action items.
  • Dress code: There is also a specific expectation of the dress and appearance of the presiding officer, members, and others in attendance reflecting the seriousness of formality of the meeting.

Characteristics of Informal Meetings

Informal meetings are those which are conducted in a less structured manner and may or may not have an agenda. They can occur spontaneously or be planned with a casual approach. The typical situations in which informal meetings are used are brainstorming meetings, team building meetings and discussing minor issues that do not warrant a formal meeting. All employees can and should be encouraged to participate in an informal meeting.

Characteristics of Informal Meetings:

  • Agenda: An informal meeting does not always have an agenda but may have a list of items that need to be discussed.
  • Participation: All members usually participate and provide their ideas.
  • Setting: Can be help in a coffee shop, a breakout room or can be a discussion on the lawn outside the office.

Formal vs. Informal Meeting Scenarios:

When it comes to choosing between the formal and informal meeting, understanding the situational appropriateness is critical. Different scenarios require a different approach and understanding which type of meeting to facilitate can provide tender outcomes of the interaction.

Scenarios Suited for Formal Meetings

Formal meetings are integral to situations that necessitate decision-making, problem-solving, or the release of important information. Examples of scenarios that would benefit from a formal meeting are the following:

  • Contract Negotiations: finalizing and concluding contracts is best conducted in a formal setting to ensure that all legal parameters are addressed and the parties understand the term and conditions of the contract.
  • Executive Strategy Discussions: high-level talks between executives from rival firms are best resolved by the provision of a formal meeting to illuminate places of contested agreement and ensure all ideas are considered.
  • Project Kickoffs: setting a project in motion can greatly benefit from having all participants on one conference table, establishing objectives, roles, and goal posts.
  • Performance Reviews: Performance review of employees can include reprimands and embarrassing complaints that need to be addressed and integrated into the training plan.

Scenarios Suited for Informal Meetings

A key component of the informal meeting is the brainstorming of ideas, team working and relationship building. Examples of scenarios that would be suitable for an informal meeting are the following:

  • Brainstorming session: Initial idea generation can be more readily accomplished in an environment without the serious and concentrated nature of a formal meeting, without the pressures of having to meet someone’s disapproval.

When it comes to making meetings better, more often than not, less is more. While it is possible to list many strategies and tips on how to make a meeting effective, the bulk of them are actually applicable to both formal and informal gatherings. Hence, at the end of the day, the true advantages of informal meetings are brought by the nature of them being informal. When a meeting is informal, people feel less pressure and are, ultimately, more likely to communicate effectively. Therefore, the major advantages of both types of meetings are more or less equal. The only difference between the two is that while the agenda of a formal meeting is predefined and cannot be altered, the process of an informal one can be adjusted to the needs and wants of the attendees.


It would be wrong to assume that informal meetings are not needed or are not as effective as formal ones. While it is true that a formal meeting offers more opportunities for reaching specific long-term goals and delegating tasks, informal gatherings manage to foster a sense of community, helping people socialize and develop new ideas. Thus, the two types of meeting are vital for businesses. Depending on to the nature of the tasks at hand, one can either opt for a formal meeting with a clearly defined agenda, specific division of roles and responsibility, and the focus on problem-solving, or choose to get together in a less formal manner and allow the ideas to flow, thus, creating something new.

Here is some advice on properly conducting an informal meeting:

  • Open communication: encourage open dialogue and active listening. Such an approach aids in the creation of a new, free atmosphere when brainstorming, discussion, and debate are the norm.
  • Not every meeting needs a set agenda, but it is critical to outline the main topics for discussion for a more productive use of time.
  • Encourage participation, put in some effort in drawing out quieter members of the group. Pose open-ended questions to stimulate thinking and open up the discussion.
  • Even though it is an informal meeting, avoid long discussions and do not feel hesitant to set a rough timeframe.
  • Ensure that the outcomes of the discussion are consolidated and, if needed, followed up, in order not to lose track.

By following these simple steps, any meeting can grow from just a gathering to an important tool of decision-making and problem-solving. Whether regular or ad-hoc, when properly conducted, meetings can add to the organization’s performance in many ways.

Types of Meetings

Pitfalls of meeting planning and management

Meetings are an integral part of any organization’s life, but they often become sources of frustration. Here is a brief look at some common meeting-related problems and ways to alleviate them.

Preparatory issues:

  • A poorly prepared meeting does not have a clear objective, thus, is often a waste of everyone’s time. Objective-based meetings are more efficient, let all participants know the topics to be discussed beforehand.
  • A meeting with too few or no materials can lead to the loss of most participants. *Provide the necessary information in a timely manner and point out the most important sections for review. *Create a clear, well-structured document or presentation for better understanding.

Participation Challenges and Remedies

While participation is key to success of a meeting, several challenges may prevent it.

  • Dominating personalities: some people tend to talk more and be more assertive than others, creating a situation where only one side of the problem is voiced. To prevent it, limit the amount of time a speaker can talk to ensure other sides of the issue are voiced.
  • Lack of engagement: if people are talking, others might be distracted or simply uninterested in the discussion at hand. To combat it, active participants, games, or polls may be used or the matter of the discussion may be put in the context of listeners’ duties and be described in a way that is most important for them.
  • Conflicts unresolved: if some of the parts involved are fighting over a topic, but their ideas are not heard, the situation has a potential to evolve into an unproductive argument. Address the issue using active listening, calm talking, and if need be, mediation techniques.

If those potential issues are anticipated and their solutions prepared for, the most positive future outcome is reached. Meetings should remain efficient, timely, focused, and positive from the beginning to the end. Proper organizational of meetings is a must.

Enhancing Meeting Productivity and Collaboration

In today’s quickly evolving world, it is especially important to ensure meetings are productive. They should be a tool of achieving organization’s goals, not an unnecessary time management habit. Proper tools and techniques should be used.

Tools and Techniques for Effective Meetings

There are several tools and techniques that can drastically develop the efficiency of meetings.

  • Agenda management: to ensure all important questions are raised and discussed, use a digital agenda, such as Google’s Forms, Sheets, and Docs, or Microsoft’s OneNote.
  • Time Tracking: Use of time stack software such as Toggl or Clockify monitors how we use time during meetings and helps us to stay focused.
  • Visual Aids: Use of slides from PowerPoint or diagrams from tools like Lucidchart to present complex ideas in a simple and concise manner.
  • Remote Participation: Use of video conferencing with tools like Zoom or Microsoft teams ensures that everyone who needs to be in the meeting can be present without limitations of geography.

Strategies for Encouraging Productivity

As rightly pointed out, productivity is very key. However, it is equally important during the meeting to encourage behaviors and actions that lead to supporting innovative thinking.

  • Structured Brainstorming: Allocation of appropriate time to idea generation and approaches like ‘5 Whys’ or ‘SCAMPER’ for thinking out of the box.
  • Diverse Participation: encouragement to members to share experiences, thoughts, and ideas.
  • Innovation Time: Setting a portion of time at every meeting to talk about possible new innovations, or approaches that could be tried by the team in the future.
  • Feedback Loops: Use of tools such as Mentimeter for real-time feedback on ideas generated by the team.


Meetings can either be a significant source of organizational success or can become a waste of time for the organization. The key to a successful meeting is to focus on our time and ensuring that we are productive, and to encourage the discussion approach during a meeting while making it collaborative and innovative. Ultimately, it is to strike a perfect balance between being efficient and actually encouraging creativity.

The Importance Of Having A Meeting Structure

The use of meeting structures can be very helpful in the context of ensuring time in a meeting is well spent. A structure helps provide a blueprint on how we can spend time quickly and improve the effectiveness of a meeting or discussion.

  • Clarity and purpose: An agenda clearly outlines the purpose of the meeting as well as the topics to be addressed. Moreover, an agenda serves as an outline for the meeting, reducing confusion on what the meeting is about and the expected results. This allows participants to clearly see what is expected and what outcomes are to be aimed at.
  • Time efficiency: The agenda includes time limits for each topic. Thus, it is easier to keep down the time frame required for the meeting. Each topic has its own allocated time, which does not allow to put off or needlessly exceed the issue. This is of value, given the shortage of time in any sphere of human life.
  • Accountability: Agenda serves as a guide for what topics are to be discussed and who is responsible for presenting the topics. If you have been assigned responsibility for the subject of the meeting, you can be sure that you will have to give a report on the results of the work of all sections within the time allotted. A specific form of the agenda is the registration of issues, which must include a list of all those present at the meeting.
  • Inclusivity: It allows participants to understand their role in other people’s work and responsibilities. It is necessarily made in addition to the registration of issued invitations to all interested persons. You can be guided by this list when assigning responsibilities.

The role of participants in different types of meetings may vary. In formal meetings, a specific role is given. Therefore, a chairperson takes a leading role, an official secretary takes notes, and other participants are tasked with presenting or giving an update on their project. In less formal meetings, roles are not designated, but all participants equally play a role and should encourage everyone to comment. At virtual conferences, not only should a person prepare a computer with a webcam, microphone, and normal Internet speed. They should be sure they are there on time and be actively involved in the virtual conference format. It’s easier to write questions and comments down in the chat or digest others’ information if they are switched from participant view to speaker view. They should also actively participate by clicking on the raise hand button and proactively discussing.

It is vital to understand and adhere to each participant’s role in different meeting environments they require in order to effectively contribute to the collective effort. Whether it is a formal session in a boardroom or an informal brainstorming, every team member is responsible for moving the meeting towards its desired goals. This paper will examine prevalent business trends that have arisen as a result of remote employment in the modern market state and provide an overview of how the shift to a virtual work environment has necessitated new strategies for both in-person and online interaction.

The Evolving Mosaic

Nowadays, remote work has become typical for the modern business environment, turning the regular work routine of both running and attending meetings face-to-face into an obsolete practice. Therefore, it is necessary to develop a distinctive strategy for successfully organizing and carrying out effective meetings that will work under conditions of both in-person and remote communication.

Reflection of Remote Work on Meeting Dynamics

First and foremost, it is necessary to examine the ways that virtual employment affects the dynamics of every meeting and how people view meeting organization and executive practice as such.

  • Communication Channels: Remote work, with its numerous advantages, has substantially intensified the recourse to digital communication present on the market. Thus, existing tools and applications now play a substantial driving force role in maintaining clear and constant communication.
  • Time Zones: Due to the virtual environment, there are no more geographical restrictions, and the employees can be situated in their virtual cubicles in all time zones. Thus, meeting time will have to be compromised, and scheduling tools will often work out the time for the most significant number of workers.

Idea One: Use specific reasons and examples from real life to illustrate how some types of meetings used in organizations. For example:

  • Formal meetings: Diagnosing and treating patients require a formal meeting to ensure that staff makes appropriate decisions and avoids malpractice. They also occasionally meet to submit and update policies and procedures so that they meet the government’s requirements.

In both examples, it is evident that the examples provided demonstrate the use of formal meetings.

Idea Two: Explain whether these examples have made you see the types of meetings differently and how. For both examples, it becomes evident that formal meetings are essential for organizations, but informal meetings tend to be more flexible and allow people to make independent decisions.

Both types of meetings are essential, but they serve different roles in an organization. Formal meetings are important when staff needs to make important decisions about the organization. They need to meet with their colleagues, who have the same duties, to discuss the existing situation and find the optimal solutions. On the other hand, informal meetings are more flexible and give a chance to team members to make decisions independently. These can be group meetings, as well as some seminars, conference halls, and business missions.

Idea Three: Pose questions you may still have and base them on potential limitations. For example: How long does it take to make formal meetings into informal ones? Can informal meetings be replaced by effective group chats?

The first question emphasizes the limitations of formal meetings because although they are helpful, it takes time to call the entire team and related personnel who need to contribute to the decision-making process. During a formal meeting, relevant departments will find the group chats more convenient because they take less time to deliver than examples in the text because there are times when informal meetings are more effective than group chats.

An example of the earlier type is a team brainstorming session. Many startups to this day occasionally call informal meetings to come up with a new product or devise a solution to a difficult problem. An informal lunch meeting where everybody is welcome to share their thoughts on a matter without it being ordered ahead of time may be a good example of this type. The second case, a casual catch-up, is an established company’s response to a new situation when the team is expected to engage on a more informal level while still exchanging facts. A walking meeting around the premises of the company could be a typical example of such an event where members talk about projects, potential solutions, and make numerous suggestions. Finally, to sum it up, a business that can realize that there can be numerous informal settings that may pretend to be valuable types of foundation for any activity may adopt a selective approach and distinguish when either an informal or formal setting should be applied in their situation, as each type of meeting serves a unique purpose.

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