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Glossary of Meeting Terms
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Glossary of Meeting Terms

Definitions and examples for common words associated with meetings.

February 5, 2021
Rob Lennon
Customer Education Lead at Hugo
Marketer and author with experience spanning a diverse 16 years in retail and SaaS startups across healthcare, mar-tech, and ad-tech, and productivity software sectors.

Meeting Term Glossary:

  • Action-item
  • All-hands meeting
  • Catch-up meeting
  • Challenger sales model
  • Icebreaker
  • Meeting Agenda
  • Meeting Cadence
  • Minutes of a Meeting
  • Objectives and Key Results (OKRs)
  • Porter’s 5 Forces
  • Project status update
  • Retrospective meeting
  • Robert’s Rules of Order
  • Skip-level meeting
  • SMART Goals
  • Stand-up meeting

Action-item

Definition:

Action items are the concrete next steps you (or someone else) must take to achieve your goals after a meeting. They can be handled easily by a single person and are created when decisions are made during a meeting. 

Since action items are created in the middle of a meeting, the meeting leader should document them in real-time. Essentially, action items are the “next steps” you take once a decision has been made. 

Resources:

  1. Video How to craft action-oriented meeting agendas
  2. Blog 5 Tips for Managing Meeting Tasks and Action Items

All-hands meeting

Definition:

An all-hands meeting includes everyone in the organization—interns, VPs, and everyone in between. The function of these meetings is to allow everyone to voice concerns, ask questions, and highlight team wins. When it’s done well, an all-hands meeting helps isolated colleagues feel more connected professionally and personally.  

Resources:

  1. All-Hands Meeting Meeting Note Template
  2. Remote All Hands Meeting Meeting Note Template

Catch-up meeting

Definition:

The catch-up meeting is between two or more people when those involved haven’t interacted in a while. These meetings can be scheduled ad hoc. For example, when one of your team members comes back from an extended absence. A catch-up meeting can also occur periodically to help team members that don’t regularly interact stay connected.

Regardless of your specific scenario, catch-up meetings should be aimed at strengthening individual and team relationships. When they’re run well, catch-up meetings help you root out poor team communication and improve employee engagement.

Resources:

  1. Catch-Up Meeting Meeting Note Template
  2. Meeting Toolkit: Catch-Up Meeting Agenda Template and Best Practices

Challenger Sales Model

Definition:

The Challenger Sales Model is a sales approach in which a sales rep uses their awareness of the market and human nature to educate their prospects and dissolve preconceived ideas. The model unfolds in five phases:

  1. The warm-up: build curiosity and credibility through a tailored approach, aiming to get the prospect talking about their problems.
  2. The reframe: reframe the problem by helping the prospect see the gaps in their understanding.
  3. The use of emotions: earn emotional investment from prospects by explaining how others have solved similar problems.
  4. The value proposition: get prospects thinking more deeply about the best way to solve their problem.
  5. The product: present the product.

The approach emerged after a 2011 Gartner study found that, among five distinct profiles for B2B sales reps, “The Challenger” tended to be the most successful. 

Resources:

  1. The Challenger Sales Model: How Being Contrary Can Close Deals

Icebreaker

Definition:

An icebreaker is an activity, game or event that’s meant to help employees warm up at the beginning of a meeting. They’re particularly useful for new teams because they help team members get to know each other. But any meeting in which people need to comfortably collaborate may include an icebreaker.

Resources: 

  1. 20+ Easy, Fun Ice Breakers for Meetings—Even Virtual Ones!

Meeting Agenda

Definition:

A meeting agenda is a list of meeting activities, topics, and discussions that will be covered in your meeting. These items are laid out in bullet points in the order in which they’ll be covered. The purpose of an agenda is to provide structure by giving participants an outline of what will happen and who will lead each discussion topic or task. 

In a formal meeting following Robert’s Rules of Order, the agenda will begin with a call to order and end with an adjournment. Though it’s not required to, a meeting agenda may also explicitly allot specific times for each meeting item on the agenda. In less formal meetings, an agenda could also be a simple list of topics. 

Resources:

  1. How to Create Effective Meeting Agendas for Productive Meetings [+Examples]

Meeting Cadence

Definition:

Meeting cadence refers to the frequency with which you hold meetings. Examples of meeting cadences include daily, weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, bi-monthly, quarterly, and yearly.

Meeting cadence depends on the nature of the meeting. For example, most stand-up meetings are daily or at least bi-weekly. However, a business review meeting is more likely to have a quarterly meeting cadence. 

Choosing your meeting cadence requires careful consideration. Too many meetings bog down productivity. Too few leaves your team hanging. A good meeting cadence keeps teams connected without slowing people down. 

Resources:

  1. How to Choose the Right Meeting Cadence for Your Team

Free, 15-minute guide to shorter, fewer, better meetings.

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Minutes of a Meeting

Definition:

The minutes of a meeting (abbreviation MoM), also called meeting minutes, are the official summary of what happened during a meeting. Meeting minutes are written to document objectives, decisions, and next steps. 

Minutes are not a verbatim account of everything people said. Rather, meeting minutes are designed so that if someone who didn’t attend the meeting read them six months later, they’d be able to understand what happened. 

Your meeting minutes may be formal, informal, or somewhere in between. For example, in California, local governments must make formal meeting minutes available to the public. Generally though, most non-government organizations use less formal minutes unless the meeting needs to be documented for compliance. 

Resources:

  1. ✍ How to Write the Minutes of Any Meeting [+ Free Meeting Minutes Templates]

Objectives and Key Results (OKRs)

Definition:

Objectives and Key Results, or OKRs, is a framework that defines goals and tracks your team’s progress towards them. OKRs have two mechanisms—the objective and the key result—for a reason. The objective is your desired direction. The key result is the milestone that indicates your progress towards your desired direction.  

Because objectives are what you want to achieve, they’re more high level so it’s not as important that they be objectively measurable.

Resources:

  1. How to Choose KPIs for Your Business
  2. Objectives and Key Results (OKRs): What They Are and How to Use Them

Porter’s 5 Forces

Definition:

Porter’s Five Forces is a method for analyzing an industry to understand a business’s competitive position within that industry. 

This framework structures industry analysis through the lens of five forces: 

  1. Threat of new entrants
  2. Threat of substitutes
  3. Bargaining power of customers
  4. Bargaining power of suppliers
  5. Competitive rivalry

Porter’s 5 Forces enables you to focus on forces that affect a given company’s strategic position. It’s also useful for revealing opportunities, evaluating decisions in a broader context, and narrowing your focus to specific critical issues.

Resources:

  1. How to Model a Competitive Strategy with Porter's 5 Forces [Template + Examples]

Project status update

Definition:

A traditional project status update meeting is when people share information about the project status across departments. The goal of a project status update meeting is to identify any new issues or action items that need to be assigned.

A project status update can also be a short update in the middle of a meeting about a broader topic. This type of project status update is meant to inform others who may need background information to make a decision. 

Resources:

  1. How to Nail Your Next Project Status Update
  2. Weekly Team Meeting Meeting Note Template

Retrospective meeting

A retrospective meeting is when team members reflect on success and shortcomings and make suggestions for the future. Retros include discussion of what happened during a project, what worked well, what didn’t, and what the team can do to improve their process. 

Retrospectives are especially important for agile software development teams because of their focus on constant iteration. Still, these meetings can benefit any team looking to improve their collaborative processes.

Resources:

  1. Retrospective Meeting Note Template
  2. Project Review (Post Mortem) Meeting Note Template
  3. 5 Types of Meetings Worth Having (& How to Get Them Right) 🙌

Robert’s Rules of Order

Definition:

Robert’s Rules of Order is a guide that details a formal meeting process in which each participant has equal weight as expressed by vote. They’re mainly used by legislative bodies like local or state governments. But, Robert’s Rules do provide some useful tidbits for all kinds of meetings. 

Through its detail on the ideal structure, decision-making rules, and roles and responsibilities for a formal meeting, Robert’s Rules provide useful takeaways for all kinds of meetings. In short, Robert’s Rules is about prioritizing agenda items, idea generation and discussion, and decision-making.

Resources: 

  1. Robert's Rules of Order for Modern Meetings, Explained 👩‍⚖️ Learn about having a quorum, motions, voting
  2. Formal Meeting Agenda Template Meeting Note Template

Skip-level meeting

Definition:

A skip-level meeting is between a manager or senior leader and a junior-level employee who is not that manager or leader’s direct report. So if you’re a junior-level employee, you skip a level and meet with your boss’s boss. 

Skip-level meetings improve communication by enabling information to effectively flow from lower levels up. Executives need to know what’s happening at lower levels so they can make good decisions and provide feedback for their managers. 

Resources:

  1. Skip-Level Meetings: What They Are, and How to Run Them
  2. One-on-one: Skip level Meeting Note Template

SMART Goals

Definition:

SMART Goals represent a goal-setting framework that helps you set goals the right way. The framework is represented by the acronym, “SMART”, which stands for Specific, Measureable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. By setting SMART goals, you avoid the productivity killer of vague, unquantifiable, unrealistic, or pointless goals.

Resources:

  1. How to set SMART goals that drive results 💪 [Definitions + Examples]
  2. How to make a plan in 5 steps 🗺

Stand-up meeting

Definition:

The stand-up meeting is when team members meet to share progress, remove barriers, and stay aligned. True to the name, stand-up meeting attendees must stay standing for the duration of the meeting. This is a built-in reminder to keep the meeting short, between 5 and twenty minutes.

Stand-up meetings are distinct from status updates in that they are designed for team discussion. Managers or stakeholders may attend but it is the team members that do the talking. In a traditional, scrum-style stand-up team members answer three questions:

  1. What did you do yesterday that helped the team meet its goal?
  2. What will you do today to help the team meet its goal?
  3. Do you see any blockers that will prevent you or the team from meeting its goal?

Resources:

  1. How to Make Your Stand-Up Meetings More Effective
  2. Quick Stand-Up Meeting Meeting Note Template
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Rob Lennon
Customer Education Lead at Hugo
Marketer and author with experience spanning a diverse 16 years in retail and SaaS startups across healthcare, mar-tech, and ad-tech, and productivity software sectors.

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