How many meetings have you sat through? Are some of them interminably long and you wonder why an email wasn’t just sent out? In my previous life I would drive 2 hrs one way for regional meetings that were four hours long. Sometimes it felt like that information could have been passed on in an email or two.

Working online has taught me a couple of things. Well really it’s only one: to be succinct! Long ago Jeremiah Owyang said he wouldn’t read my email if it was longer than a few bullet points. So the world has him to thank for my brevity in writing.

My newest skill is that I can call a team meeting and get everything accomplished in a half hour! For this I have my CEO, Aaron Newman, to thank. He’s not into meetings & we appreciate that. But they are a necessity for communication (especially considering my working remotely).

Then I happened up this article by Steve Roesler, Better Meetings, Better Leadership. I like the way he has divided meetings into 5 types based on the amount of participation expected. And he ties it into leadership skills. As a community leader stop & think about how you call meetings and what type are they? I’m putting my comments in parenthesis.

1. the Tell Mode – no participation is expected (umm send an email please)

2. the Sell Mode – in addition to telling, you want buy in (please take some time to make sure that the team is involved in the decision/policy! Then you won’t need to ask for buy in because they were part of creating the solution)

3. the Test Mode – you allow for some input (but this is sometimes met with apathy. Again make sure the team is involved in creating solutions)

4. the Consult Mode – you encourage participation & no decision has been made (note Steve comments that the leader listens. Aren’t these types of meetings more interesting to attend?)

5. the Join Mode – everyone arrives at a decision together (there’s nothing better than attending a meeting, participating, and feeling as if you’ve been heard & your input has been taken into account)

I see meetings as a place where we need to shift our organizations into being transparent and aspiring for the new culture that supports everyone being involved in social media and working with customers. The power shift is going to be away from the top down so will our meeting style need to reflect that?

If you’re leading meetings what type of message are you sending? And when you attend the various types of meetings, which type do you prefer?