When you think of formal gatherings, you may envision a meeting that has a specific agenda, strict rules, and a designated speaker who leads discussions. A person could take notes in a formal manner and have a particular structure. For informal meetings, these guidelines may not be in place.
The topic of the discussion will determine the atmosphere and the way that people interact during the meeting, regardless of whether they are voting or chatting. A meeting with the sole discussion of old work or loose ends could be a great chance to discuss significant issues which have not been completed and how they impact the future work. Similarly, a meeting with an agenda item about new business plans could provide an ideal opportunity to discuss these new initiatives, and assessing how they relate to the overall corporate strategy.
It is essential for participants to feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and not worry about what they might be viewed as. If you observe that one of your participants is hesitant to speak, think about broadening the discussion by asking them for their thoughts on an issue raised by a participant in the group. This can help keep the meeting focused on the concepts themselves instead of a clash of personalities. As the meeting progresses, it is essential to ensure that the discussion remains on topic and that a quorum of members remains in attendance. It is also advisable to follow up with participants after the meeting and ask for feedback, as this will highlight the importance of their participation in the final outcome of the meeting.