I love meetings, I hate meetings, I love meetings... Okay, okay, I have a love-hate relationship with meetings. There are three types of meetings (no, it's not the good, the bad and the ugly) that I've found myself in. The first type of meeting is the useful meeting where the right people get together and figure out a solution to a problem.
The second type of meeting can also be useful which is the information meeting. This type of meeting is when one person needs to pass along information to a group of people followed by a discussion or questions. Type 2 can be tricky, though, because it can easily become an useless meeting if the information being given out is ill-prepared or not useful. Also, don't drag out these type of meetings for too long 'cause people have a limit on how much they can take from one person droning on-and-on.
The third type of meeting is the bad one, and unfortunately, the most common one that gives meetings a bad name. This is the meeting that someone has in order to show he's doing something to justify his existence at the company. There is often no true purpose at this meeting or to collect the people there together, yet it seems to last forever. Sometime this can be disguised as type 2 where the person talks forever on a topic that nobody needs to hear about and probably could've been done more efficiently in an email. There is often a lot of people in these meetings but no clear action items results from it. People might say something just so they can meet the "I participated" criteria but there is very little investment by the group. Occasionally there is one person who tries makes it his soapbox, but given the lack of interest by the group who soon just wants to get out it doesn't result in any positive action. In the end, everyone leaves feeling that they just lost a few hours of their lives.
My point? Make sure there is a clear purpose for calling a meeting and make sure you stay focus on the topic to be addressed/solved. If it's for information, get to the point and keep it clear.