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Spontaneous Meetings Versus Scheduled Meetings (Part 1: Spontaneous Meetings)

Meetings are present in all organizations of all sizes; here is how to use meeting time effectively

Pros: Spontaneous Meetings

1.) Spontaneous meetings occur when there is a reason to meet

Unlike scheduled meetings that are held because it’s that time of the month, spontaneous meetings are held because there is a pressing matter needing to be addressed. This promotes focused discussion regarding the subject at hand.

2. Spontaneous meetings can occur anywhere

This is fairly self-explanatory. Many tech titans, including the late Steve Jobs, preferred to have meetings while taking a walk. You can even meet outside or on the balcony of your building, then return to your desk after the meeting.

3. Spontaneous meetings are shorter

Generally, spontaneous meetings have a focused agenda of a small list topics to be discussed, often just one big topic. Once these topics are discussed, the participants can return to what they were doing before.

Cons: Spontaneous Meetings

1. Spontaneous meetings require follow-up

Since most parties aren’t prepared for a spontaneous meeting, opinions could change over the course of a few days or someone may come up with a better solution.

2. Watch out for groupthink!

When many like-minded people are brought together, groupthink may emerge, halting the flow of creative ideas. To avoid this, preface the meeting with the topic that will be discussed, such as: “I have some ideas for features we can add to enhance the customer experience and I’d like to discuss them. I’ll grab some coffee from downstairs; then let’s meet out in the balcony for a few minutes. Bring your own suggestions as well.”

3. Difficult to organize, especially in larger organizations

Not every decision maker is always present for a spontaneous meeting when it would be the best time to have one. Often, one cannot get around scheduling a meeting because it is difficult to get key individuals in the same location at the same time. This is when scheduled meetings are necessary.

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