Thursday, May 21, 2009


A meeting, by definition, is where two or more people come together for the purpose brainstorming, or discussing a predetermined topic such as business or community event planning. This can be in a formal setting, or a casual setting such as a coffee shop.

In business, meetings are an important vehicle for personal contact. They are so common and pervasive in organizations, however, that many take them for granted and forget that, unless properly planned and executed, meetings can be a waste of time and resources.

Meetings may be divided into many categories:
  • Status Meetings, generally Leader-led, which are about reporting by one-way communication;

  • Work Meetings, which produce a product or intangible result such as a decision

  • Staff meeting - typically a meeting between a manager and those that report to the manager (possibly indirectly).

  • Team meeting - a meeting among colleagues working on various aspects of a team project.

  • Ad-hoc meeting - a meeting called together for a special purpose

  • Management meeting - a meeting among managers

  • Board meeting - a meeting of the “BOD” of an organization

  • One-on-one meeting - a meeting between two individuals

  • Off-site meeting - also called "offsite retreat".

  • Kick-off Meeting - is the first meeting with the project team and the client of the project to go over the role of each team member

  • Pre-Bid Meeting - is a meeting of multiple competitors and or contractors to visually inspect a job-site for a future project. The meeting is normally hosted by the future customer or engineer who wrote the project specification to ensure all bidders are aware of the details and services expected of them. Attendance at the Pre-Bid Meeting may be mandatory. Failure to attend usually results in a rejected bid

Since a meeting can be held once or often, the meeting organizer has to determine the repetition and frequency of occurrence of the meeting. Options generally include the following:
A one-time meeting is the most common meeting type and covers events that are self-contained. While they may repeat often, the individual meeting is the entirety of the event. This can include a 2006 conference. The 2007 version of the conference is a stand-alone meeting event.

A recurring meeting is a meeting that recurs periodically, such as an every Monday staff meeting from 9:00AM to 9:30 AM. The meeting organizer wants the participants to be at the meeting on a constant and repetitive basis. A recurring meeting can be ongoing, such as a weekly team meeting, or have an end date, such as a 5 week training meeting, held every Friday afternoon.

A series meeting is like a recurring meeting, but the details differ from meeting to meeting. One example of a series meeting is a monthly "lunch and learn" event at a company, church, club or organization. The placeholder is the same, but the agenda and topics to be covered vary. This is more of a recurring meeting with the details to be determined.

In addition to coming together physically (face to face), communication lines and equipment can also be set up to have a discussion between people at different locations, e.g. a virtual, online, or “e-meeting”.

In an online meeting, there are a number of roles that come into play:

  1. Host: The host of the meeting is one who organizes, launches, and oversees the entire meeting. You can have multiple hosts, if you fully trust multiple participants. A host has full input and output of audio and video.

  2. Presenter: The presenter doesn’t control the meeting, but does have the ability to broadcast their audio and video, just like the Host does. Programs like VIA3 allow you to use a “presentation mode” which works perfectly for this scenario. Everyone in the meeting sees the same presentation as the presenter, including animations, video clips etc. The presentation is automatically scaled to fit each audience member's screen so everyone sees the entire slide without having to scroll.

  3. Audience Member: An audience member is one who is viewing Host and Presenter video, hearing Host and Presenter audio, but not broadcasting their own audio or video. The audience member participates in a meeting through voting and polling, as well as group chat.

  4. Temporary Member: Some programs like VIA3 allow you to invite temporary members to a meeting. Temporary users can join a VIA3 meeting and have access to VIA3 features for the duration of the meeting. These temporary attendees do not have to have a purchased seat to participate, but also do not have any features available in perpetuity, nor can they initiate a new meeting.

    In an online meeting, you can present, share your desktop, collaborate on documents, collaborate in an online whiteboard session, demonstrate a product on your machine, or simply have an A/V meeting, with multiple points of video and audio present.

    The benefits to having an online meeting are obvious: In addition to improved productivity, web Meetings, Presentations, and Collaboration offer us both time and money savings. Many of us spend a considerable amount of time traveling either across town or across the country. In some instances, face-to face meetings are the best—or only—way to handle certain types of meetings. But not every meeting requires in-person contact, and the increasing expense and inconvenience of travel is becoming harder to justify. And that does not include the demand from clients to reduce costs.

    If you are interested in trying an online meeting, rather than face to face, the first thing you need to do is try a service. VIA3 is the most affordable, most secure, most feature rich meeting software on the market today, and you can try it free for a month from