A Taxonomy of Meetings

06 Apr 2023 | One-minute read

Meetings are expensive. If you are going to meet, it “pays” for everyone to know the objective. It helps you decide who should be there.

I think it is useful to think of a meetings as belonging to one of three groups:

Creating meetings go under many names such as brainstorming, feedback sessions. The goal is to produce some new knowledge. I spend a lot of time with designs, and most meetings related to designs are in this class. The number of attendees should be small. 5 people is about the maximum number of people who can be engaged to actively creating and refining ideas. Beyond 5, there isn’t enough “talking time”.

Deciding meetings also go under many names such as a review, go no-go. The goal is to make a decision. As with creating meetings, the number of participants should be small. In most cases, you should know the outcome in advance (but if you really do, try asynchronous such as email instead). Deciding meetings need the decider present.

Educating meetings, as you might expect, have many names. Training, knowledge sharing are some common names. These can be large format and sometimes very large.

I use this brief taxonomy to set the context at the start of the meeting so that we have a shared understanding of the meeting’s objective.