Meetings in organizations usually have one of these purposes: information giving, information exchange, problem solving, and decision making.
Information-giving meetings are favored when:
Information-exchange meetings are called for when:
Again, memos work here, but phone calls are better, and, increasingly, electronic mail allows information exchange more quickly.
Problem-solving meetings allow several people to combine knowledge and skills at once. These are useful when:
There aren't many good alternatives to face-to-face communication, but conference calls, interactive videos , and Web chat rooms are possible.
Decision-making meetings are needed:
It may be possible to use telephone surveys or mailed response sheets for these, but the feeling of closure on an issue is more complete if done by face-to-face agreement.
THE IMPORTANT CONSIDERATION FOR MANAGERS IS: DO WE NEED TO HAVE A MEETING? A rule of thumb to use in determining whether to have a meeting is to ask if you are sure of the outcome. If you already know the answer, you could telephone, write, or not have a meeting. If you aren't sure how you OR the issue will be received AND this is important to you or your company, better to go in person and have a meeting.