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Hold One Type of Meeting at a Time

there are 3 types and each one uses your brain differently

Woman in a virtual meeting


The dreaded time-suck most of us want to avoid.

One of the reasons meetings don’t work is that we try to do too many types of things in one time slot.

There are actually three types of meetings:

1. Update Meetings

As the name suggests, you provide an update to someone else (or multiple someone elses) during this meeting.

Most meetings function as update meetings to provide a way for people to check in, circle back, or regroup.

Unless there’s a reason to encourage a live exchange (such as a town hall meeting), update meetings should be reassigned to an asynchronous channel.

Because all of those things can be done without making everyone sit on another Zoom call.

2. Working Meetings

You actively accomplish work during this type of meeting. In fact, we tend to call them working sessions rather than meetings.

For distributed teams, these sessions play a critical role in bringing people together — who otherwise work independently — to get things done as a group.

That could be by assembling the pieces of a project, finalizing a draft plan through human discussion with all perspectives present, or developing ideas to then take back and work on independently.

You may benefit from having a dedicated facilitator support these sessions. They can be a member of your team or someone outside of it as long as their only role is to keep things from drifting so you get your sh*t done.

3. Decision Meetings

In these meetings, you come prepared to make both small decisions and decisions big enough to require a decision case, which should be circulated and read at the start of the meeting.

Don’t smash this work into other meetings. Give yourself the space to make decisions and then communicate what decision you made and why you made it with the people who need to know.

When you stick to doing one type of meeting at a time, each meeting will be much more productive.

Subscribe to get a weekly brief on how to run a purpose-driven business. Delivered to your inbox every Monday morning. Originally published at on July 25, 2022.



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Katie Burkhart

Katie Burkhart

Putting a point on business 🟡 | Entrepreneur Contributor | Serial Entrepreneur | Not-a-Book Author | Keynote Speaker | Minimalist Designer | Jargon Slayer