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Types of Business Meetings: Formal & Informal

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  • 0:01 Meetings
  • 0:37 Formal Meetings
  • 1:23 Informal Meetings
  • 2:24 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Colette Rominger

Colette has taught many business and management courses and has a Masters in Adult Education and Training as well as an MBA

Meetings are definitely a part of the business culture that cannot be avoided. Some meetings you may look forward to, while others you may dread. Find out the differences between formal and informal meetings, and what you should expect from each.

Meetings

If you work for a company, you will most certainly be required to attend meetings. You may be required to attend daily, weekly, or monthly meetings. Depending on your position in the company, your entire day may be filled with them. Meetings are a necessary evil when it comes to consistent communication with employees, management, and other company stakeholders. When meetings are planned well and run correctly, they can be very productive. When they are not, they can be a waste of time and an annoyance. Either way, it is important to know about the different types of meetings and what to expect from each.

Formal Meeting

One type is a formal meeting. They are formal gatherings to present important financial, organizational, and operational information to those who make decisions regarding these issues. This list usually includes shareholders, senior management, board members, and possibly individuals representing a committee that is working on a specific project in one of these areas. Examples of formal meetings are finance committee meetings, board of directors meetings, and annual shareholders meetings.

These meetings will have a specific agenda, and the minutes of the meeting will be recorded. Formal meetings are typically used for reporting and presenting important financial and large-scale operational information. If this is a publicly traded company, the minutes are required to be submitted to the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Informal Meetings

Another type is an informal meeting. This type of meeting is used to address daily operational and policy issues. Your department meeting is a type of informal meeting. This meeting should have an agenda in order to keep the discussion on track, and there will probably be notes taken by the attendees. However, there will be no 'official' meeting minutes recorded. The informal meeting can be used for:

  • Problem solving
  • Brainstorming
  • Training
  • Team building
  • Discussing upcoming changes or new products
  • Making announcements pertaining to your team

Examples of this type of meeting include monthly department meetings, weekly project team meetings, and daily sales or productivity meetings. If you plan to hold regular meetings, be sure to find a day and time that is convenient for your staff.

Many managers make the mistake of scheduling a meeting for every topic that arises. Take the time of your employees into consideration. If the information can be clearly and concisely delivered in an email, and there are no other pressing topics to cover, then you may want to reconsider the meeting.

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