Throughout your career life, you're likely to attend lots of meetings with your supervisors, peers and subordinates. Although there are many different kinds and styles of meetings, they all serve the same objective--to foster teamwork and help the business do a better job.
"Think tank" meetings bring participants together to explore the available options for resolving a current or potential problem. Everyone's ideas are heard, discussed, modified and debated, and the solution that the majority agrees is the most practical is the one that gets chosen.
Managers and line supervisors often hold weekly or monthly staff meetings as a forum to assess each unit's progress and assign new tasks as well as identify declining sales or services issues before they escalate into major problems. These meetings usually follow a written agenda and participants are expected to be prepared.
Whether it's a political campaign in a tailspin or a baby food company that's been forced to recall a product because of contamination, it's critical that everyone be on the same page. Rather than risk the press hearing 50 different versions of what happened, the purpose of a damage control meeting is to verify the facts and script one reply that all participants will adhere to.
Personnel meetings take three forms. The first is an interview to hire someone and involves the applicant and two to four people familiar with the job requirements. The second is an administrative hearing for determining whether there are grounds for disciplinary actions or dismissal. This involves the employee, his union rep, and individuals who have knowledge of the case. The third is a staffing review to identify which divisions need more staff or can meet budget cuts through furloughs and attrition.
When you're in the business of courting new clients, the colloquial term for a pitch session is a "dog and pony show." The purpose is to present enough razzle-dazzle that will not only impress the client but also demonstrate that you've researched her needs and are prepared to give her all your attention. Conversely, vendors use pitch sessions on company decision makers to convince them to carry their products.
Investors like to know that their money and their trust haven't been misplaced, especially in a shaky economy. A shareholder meeting is a large-scale forum in which annual reports are distributed to members, who have the opportunity to hear what the board has to say about the company's standing and future growth.
If it's a brand new company in the works, the early meetings will involve its main players and focus on issues such as its structure and governing by-laws, financing, marketing, location, insurance, licensing, and scope of products and services.
Ghostwriter and film consultant Christina Hamlett has written professionally since 1970. Her credits include many books, plays, optioned features, articles and interviews. Publishers include HarperCollins, Michael Wiese Productions, "PLAYS," "Writer's Digest" and "The Writer." She holds a B.A. in communications (emphasis on audience analysis and message design) from California State University, Sacramento. She also travels extensively and is a gourmet chef.