Ad hoc meetings are a valuable part of an organization’s meeting culture. While longer, scheduled meetings can often have an agenda with several items to address and resolve, the focus of ad hoc meetings is often much more targeted. Ad hoc meetings can also be great for spontaneous ideation and brainstorming. These meetings are often equally as important as planned meetings, and – while impromptu – can still be organized and productive. Let’s dive into exactly what these meetings are and how you can make sure they count.
What are Ad Hoc Meetings?
Ad hoc meetings are one-off, unplanned gatherings that focus on a specific topic or discussion. These impromptu meetings don’t offer time for planning and strategizing so having tried-and-true tactics for running a productive ad hoc meeting in your back pocket is key to getting the most out of them.
5 Tips for Productive Ad Hoc Meetings
1. Set A Goal
It may not be practical to set a formal agenda before calling an ad hoc meeting, but at the very least you should have an idea of what you expect from the gathering. Having a clear objective as the convener of an impromptu meeting will keep you focused on the intended outcome, and that is what will make the session a success.
2. Keep the Meeting Short
The difference between formal meetings and ad hoc gatherings is that the latter are intentionally brief with discussions focused on the specific question or problem at hand.
We’ve found, through data from our Solstice Cloud analytics tool , that meetings taking place in huddle spaces and huddle rooms – the meeting spaces used most for ad hoc meetings – are 35% shorter and have 33% more content shared per meeting.
You should also appreciate the fact that your colleagues have deadlines to meet and other responsibilities that are time-bound. Keeping the meeting brief will not only promote fruitfulness through their participation, but it allows them sufficient time for other obligations as well.
3. Be Flexible
Ad hoc meetings should be able to take place in just about any workspace. From transition spaces like lobbies, hallways, and cafeterias to huddle spaces and formal meeting rooms. The meeting environment can run the gambit.
Ideally, your workplace includes collaboration and content sharing technology in a variety of spaces above and beyond conference rooms. If your workplace does not offer collaboration spaces outside of formal meeting rooms, request more meeting space options. Huddle spaces and huddle rooms – small, casual meeting spaces – are becoming extremely popular in workplace design as they have been shown to drive increased productivity and innovation. Read more on how huddle spaces can save your organization money.
4. Opt for a Small Team
One of the determinants of successful ad hoc meetings is the number of individuals you opt to engage. Research shows that small teams prevent the dreaded “social loafing” where individual contributions are perceived to be less valuable, because of the number of people sharing the same task. This is the idea that “individual effort decreases as the team size increases.”
Amazon has instituted the “Two Pizza Rule” for meetings. They believe that there are too many people in a meeting if they can’t easily be fed with two pizzas. This rule keeps meeting sizes small making meetings less bureaucratic, less chaotic which, in turn, creates a more engaging and productive meeting.
A good rule of thumb: the smaller the meeting, the more collaborative it will be.
5. Use the Right Tools
Incorporating technology in your ad hoc meeting spaces is key to achieving the engagement and productivity needed to drive innovation, especially now that so many of our meetings are hybrid. Wireless content sharing and collaboration tools are great options for providing a digital solution at an affordable price. Because ad hoc meetings are unscheduled and unstructured, the tools used to share content and collaborate must be easy to set up and use yet advanced enough to handle multiple participants sharing content at the same time to drive quick collaboration.
Mersive’s software-based solution, Solstice, has become the ubiquitous option for huddle spaces and huddle rooms as it eliminates the cost and complexity of multiple niche solutions into one platform – providing wireless content sharing, agnostic conferencing support, digital signage integration, and many other useful capabilities and features. Additionally, because Solstice easily integrates with existing infrastructure and investments, it provides a more cost-effective and flexible solution to scale technology needs across every type of meeting space as you navigate your hybrid workplace needs.