Meeting Management

Meeting Glossary

The Sherpany Meeting Management Glossary gives clarity to the terminology that is used to describe meetings and the meeting process. It was compiled using our decade of experience along with the latest research in the field of meeting science.

What action items are in meeting minutes: A task, activity, event, or action that needs to take place, as defined and documented during a meeting. 

Following a meeting, clear action items help to ensure ownership and foster accountability, which ultimately drives business outcomes by ensuring that tasks are completed. To help standardise this process, you should follow a clear meeting notes template with action items.

A discrete topic within a meeting, which has a clear goal, description, lead, participants, allocated time, and relevant material associated with it.

Separating a meeting into discrete agenda items helps to avoid endless conversations on a single topic and ensures that each topic has a goal, and therefore a reason for being included in the meeting. In addition to this, separate meeting agenda items allow for only involving the relevant stakeholders at each stage in the meeting. Learn more on how to write a meeting agenda and download our meeting agenda template.

Collaboration between two or more people that does not necessarily take place at the same time, but instead relies on overall alignment and open channels of communication.

Asynchronous collaboration enables meeting participants to begin working together before the meeting even starts. This enables participants to contribute to an agenda, allows vital questions to be asked ahead of time, and in some cases can even lead to agenda items being resolved prior to the meeting. 

Decision-making is the process of gathering information, consulting subject matter experts, weighing up alternatives, calculating risks, and ultimately deciding upon a course of action. 

Effective decision-making is a core function of leadership. Organisations rely on decisions in order to deliver and implement strategy, and respond to changes in the external environment.

A formal meeting is a pre-planned gathering of two or more individuals who have assembled for the purpose of achieving a common goal. Formal meetings often have a number of legal requirements, such as taking clear meeting minutes. Types of formal meetings include Board of Directors meetings, regular management meetings, and committee meetings. Formal meetings require pre-defined roles and responsibilities

Formal meetings are characterised by a clear structure, predetermined topics, a set of goals and the recording of minutes, decisions and actions. Formal meetings are an essential part of planning, directing and controlling an organisation. They contribute to the organisation’s goals helping individuals understand them, discuss and amend them and take actions to achieve them.

During the meeting. The in-meeting phase is where live votes and discussions take place. This stage is where idea and knowledge-sharing can take place, and is a vital component of organisational culture - especially as teams become increasingly distributed. Learn more about how to set the ground rules for your meetings to make sure you and your team remain focussed and productive.

An unplanned gathering of two or more individuals that does not have a clear structure or purpose.

Informal meetings include the serendipitous encounters that often take place within an organisation, such as the water-cooler conversations or coffee chats. They are, arguably, a vital part of corporate life, but do not require the structure that formal meetings benefit from. 

The meeting plan shared with the participants, which includes all discrete topics in a meeting, each with a clear goal, and direction in terms of who will lead each item, and whose expertise is required.

Consider meetings to be orchestral performances. In this metaphor, the meeting agenda is the score that keeps all participants in time and on the same page. You can even use a meeting agenda template to make this process easier. 

A set of beliefs and behaviours surrounding meetings that are unique to an organisation, and guide employees' interactions and actions.

Meeting culture is a subset of organisational culture, and it has a dramatic impact on the way that employees interact with one another and the overall effectiveness of collaboration. An organisation’s meeting culture includes the meeting behaviour that is considered acceptable, the nuances of how meetings are conducted, and the expectations that your people must meet when attending meetings. For example, a healthy meeting culture ensures that participants are able to prepare fully for each meeting by not allowing back-to-back meetings to be scheduled.  

The evaluations of meeting participants that are collected in order to understand their assessment of the meeting, in order to improve future meetings.

Meeting feedback is a vital resource that allows for the continuous iteration and optimisation of meeting processes. By listening to the experiences of meeting attendees, organisations are able to continuously improve their approach to meetings, where increased effectiveness is the result.

The process of communicating with participants after a meeting in order to share meeting minutes, meeting actions, and request feedback.

Meeting follow-up plays a vital role in the post-meeting phase as it provides participants with a digest of the content of the meeting in the form of minutes, and clearly outlines the actions that need to be taken by each individual. Meeting follow-up helps transpose meetings into actions. 

What a meeting sets out to achieve, defined at the agenda item level, and outlines the way success will be measured.

Meetings should have at least one goal before they come into being. Examples of meeting goals include defining departmental strategy, or discussing proposals for the implementation of new technology. It is impossible to determine the success of a meeting without defining meeting goals. 

Meeting management is a relatively new concept, and is a growing field of study within meeting science. Meeting management gives structure and rigour to the way meetings are run, from the pre-meeting phrase through to the post-meeting phase. The benefits of meeting management include swifter execution of tasks and decisions, increased speed to market products and services, and, ultimately, greater competitive advantage.

A meeting management framework, such as Azend® is a set of research-based guidelines that focus on improving an organisation's approach to meetings.

A meeting management framework helps to ensure that all aspects of your organisation’s approach to meetings work together harmoniously, to ensure that meetings are productive and that your people are able to thrive. For example, Azend® does this by addressing the 'holy trinity' of meetings: people, processes, and technology. 

All documentation relating to a meeting, including the agenda, pre-reading, research and insight, and meeting minutes.

Meeting materials were once the physical print-outs that were necessary for a meeting. In some cases, in more recent years, these have been placed by email and soft-documents. In the present day, all meeting materials can be managed digitally in a clear, searchable, and auditable way, through a purpose-built solution such as Sherpany

A clear and auditable summary of the contents of a meeting, including attendees, discussions, decisions, votes, and action items.

Meeting minutes play a legal role as well as an administrative one. For boards of directors, a clear, auditable trail of meeting discussions, votes, and outcomes must be kept for compliance reasons. Meeting minutes also help participants to recall previous discussions and avoid duplication. Learn more about meeting minutes now. 

The individual who is responsible for recording the meeting minutes. This could be a meeting participant, or it could be a designated individual who joins the meeting.

The meeting minutes taker is a vital role in the in-meeting process. They not only satisfy the legal requirements for clear minutes in many industries, but they also ensure that tasks, decisions, and discussions are recorded for distribution after the meeting. This fosters a sense of ownership and accountability among those who are to deliver the outcomes of the meeting. 

The impact that a meeting has, whether intended or unintended, on an organisation's people and processes. A meeting outcome includes all events set in motion as a result of a meeting. These could be intended or unintended. For example, the outcome of a meeting could be a clearly defined set of initiatives for the quarter ahead, which impact upon both the company’s performance and the people who will deliver. Enhancing meeting outcomes is a key objective of Sherpany and of the Azend® framework, as these are the tangible outputs of meetings. 

The process of individually preparing, and communicating and collaborating with other participants before a meeting.

Meeting preparation is a common pain point for organisations across Europe. The process of preparing for meetings is made onerous by a lack of supporting infrastructure, where a patchwork of different document management systems, physical documents, and channels of communication complicate the process, leading to a general lack of preparedness. Sherpany and Azend® address this by streamlining and optimising the pre-meeting phase to allow for more thorough preparation. 

 The process of individually preparing, and communicating and collaborating with other participants before a meeting.

is a common pain point for organisations across Europe. The process of preparing for meetings is made onerous by a lack of supporting infrastructure, where a patchwork of different document management systems, physical documents, and channels of communication complicate the process, leading to a general lack of preparedness. Sherpany and address this by streamlining and optimising the pre-meeting phase to allow for more thorough preparation. 

Basic ideas, assumptions, and guiding rules on how to run meetings. 

Meeting principles are communicated through Azend®, which gives an overview of best practice and protocol that helps to guide meetings towards effectiveness. 

Meetings participants can play different roles during the meeting, such as meeting leader, meeting minutes taker, presenter.

Meeting roles are essential for effective meetings as they help to ensure the meeting flows, stays on track, and achieves its goals. For example, the role of a meeting leader is to facilitate discussions, enforce the ground rules, and keep the meeting on track. 

Meeting science is the study of what happens before, during, and after meetings in the workplace.

Meeting science is the gateway to organisational achievement. It helps leaders to better understand how their organisations function, looking at the psychological, sociological, and anthropological underpinnings and consequences of meetings at work. It examines meetings not only as a mechanism/tool for communication and work but also as an activity that defines an employee’s experience of work, of people, and of time.

Purpose-built technology, also known as meeting management software, that helps people organise, run, and analyse meetings.

Meeting tools have transformed how people meet at work. Technology is the catalyst for advancing a productive meeting culture, and what used to be a physical event can now take place virtually, with technology increasing effectiveness throughout the meeting process.

The necessary steps that lead to a meeting taking place. This is often fulfilled by an executive assistant on behalf of the CEO, or by a Corporate Secretary.

In order to organise a meeting, it is important to have a clear understanding of the goals of the meeting, as well as a well-defined agenda with goals, participants, and timings. This informs who should be present for each topic on the agenda. Learn how to optimise your meeting management processes and reduce preparation time

After the meeting. The post-meeting phase is where the contents of the meeting is transposed into action. Meetings minutes are circulated and follow-up actions are implemented and checked upon. Feedback is also collected in the post-meeting phase. 

Before the meeting. The pre-meeting phase includes the steps of organising and preparing for a meeting, including agenda creation and asynchronous collaboration, as well as individual preparation such as pre-reading.  

A meeting which reaches its goals and/or leads to satisfaction among the meeting participants.

Productive meetings enable a company to achieve its objectives, and help individuals to successfully achieve their goals. They are the ultimate goal of Sherpany and Azend®. We envisage a world where every meeting counts.

A gathering with a specific purpose that repeats on a regular basis. Recurring meetings often include regular management meetings, strategy meetings, board meetings, and many other types of meetings

Whether it’s weekly, monthly, quarterly, or another customised rhythm, recurring meetings can be a significant contributor for groups to drive progress and maintain accountability or, if not executed well, can become a drain on time and a source of frustration. In order to optimise your recurring meetings, it is important to take a holistic view of the entire meeting process, including the technology that supports each stage.

A meeting which does not achieve meeting goals and leads to frustration among the meeting participants.

Unproductive meetings are one of the key pains that we are trying to solve. A combination of bad meetings and too many meetings leads to the phenomenon that is the 'meeting madness.'