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Everything you need to know about Ad Hoc Meetings | Dive

Doing a quick online search for "ad hoc meeting" will give you a wealth of information. But how do you go about arranging one? Here's everything you need to know!

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Ad hoc meetings are becoming increasingly common in today's fast-paced business world. These meetings don't have to be planned ahead of time and can happen at the last minute. These impromptu meetings can be used to discuss current events, deal with emergencies, or see how projects are going.

Teams can work together and stay on track with the help of ad hoc meetings, and with proper planning and communication, these meetings can quickly become very useful and effective.

In addition to effective planning and communication, the use of a meeting management tool can greatly enhance the productivity of ad hoc meetings. One such tool that can be particularly helpful is Dive.

With Dive, you can create an agenda, set goals, assign action items, and take notes all in one place. This tool can be particularly helpful for ad hoc meetings, which can often be chaotic and unstructured.


What are ad hoc meetings?

Ad hoc meetings are unplanned meetings that happen on a whim. They are impromptu, last-minute meetings that don't follow a regular schedule like regular meetings.

These meetings are usually called when there's a pressing issue that needs to be addressed quickly or when a group of people needs to have a quick conversation about something.


What is the purpose of an ad hoc meeting?

Ad hoc meetings are a lifesaver for businesses facing unforeseen challenges. These meetings are called on the spot to deal with problems that must be fixed immediately.

An ad hoc meeting is the best place to find quick solutions because everyone is focused on solving the problem.

For Example - Imagine you are the Sales lead at a services company, and you have just received news that one of your major clients is considering switching to a competitor. An extreme situation like this could significantly impact your company's revenue and reputation in the market.

To address this situation, you need to call an emergency meeting with your team to strategize and create a plan to retain the client and prevent similar occurrences in the future.

During this meeting, your team may brainstorm ideas on how to enhance your product offerings, improve customer service, and develop more effective marketing strategies. You may also review the client's feedback and concerns, analyze competitors' strategies, and assign specific tasks to team members to execute the plan.


How to make ad hoc meetings work for you?

Ad hoc meetings can be helpful, but if they aren't done right, they can also be a waste of time. Here are some ways to make ad hoc meetings work for you:

Have a clear purpose

Make sure you know why you're having an ad hoc meeting before you do. What is the problem that needs fixing? What do you want to get out of this meeting? Having a clear goal for the meeting will help keep the meeting on track and make sure everyone is on the same page.

Invite the right people

Make sure the right people are invited to the ad hoc meeting. You don't want to waste anyone's time by inviting people who aren't important to the conversation. Make sure that everyone who is invited knows what they are supposed to do and why they are there.

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Set an agenda

Even though ad hoc meetings are unplanned, it's still important to set an agenda. This will help to keep the conversation focused and ensure that everything that needs to be discussed is covered.

Follow up with action items

Make sure to follow up on action items after the ad hoc meeting is over. What were the decisions made at the meeting? What should come next? By following up with action items, you can make sure that the meeting was useful and that everyone is on the same page moving forward.


7 quick tips on how to conduct a productive ad hoc meeting

Communicate well

A successful meeting depends on good communication, and an ad hoc meeting is no different. Make sure that everyone at the meeting knows what the meeting is for and is given any necessary background information. Encourage open and honest communication throughout the meeting, and give everyone a chance to speak and be heard.

Use the right tools

Make sure to use the right tools for your ad hoc meeting, whether it's a meeting optimization tool like Dive, a collaborative document-sharing platform, or something else entirely. Ensure that all attendees are familiar with the digital tools and are able to use them effectively, and troubleshoot any technical issues before the meeting begins.

Keep it short

Most of the time, ad hoc meetings are meant to be quick and effective, so try to keep the meeting as short as possible while still covering everything that needs to be covered. Set a clear agenda and stick to it. Don't go off on tangents or talk about things that are not relevant to the meeting.

Use the right meeting format

There are a variety of meeting formats to choose from, depending on the nature of your ad hoc meeting. Consider using a brainstorming session or a problem-solving exercise to keep the meeting engaging and productive.

Get people to participate

Encourage all attendees to participate in the meeting and share their ideas and perspectives. Use active listening techniques to make sure everyone feels heard, and avoid monopolizing the conversation yourself. Consider assigning specific tasks or action items to attendees to ensure that everyone is actively engaged in the meeting.

Stay on track

It's important to stay focused on the purpose of the meeting and avoid getting sidetracked by unrelated topics or discussions. Keep the conversation on topic and avoid allowing the meeting to devolve into an unstructured conversation.


Take some time to think about how well the meeting went after it's over. Did the meeting help you reach your goals? Were all attendees able to participate and contribute? What could be done to make ad hoc meetings better in the future? Use this feedback to improve future meetings and make sure they continue to be useful and effective.


Are ad hoc meetings the only option?

No, not always. Depending on the situation, quick decisions can be made in other ways. The goal of an ad hoc meeting is to deal with something that needs to be done immediately, and a meeting may only sometimes be the best way to do that.

But, not all urgent problems need to be solved in a meeting. Sometimes, you can talk about the problem over email or make a descriptive Loom video (more on this later). However, a meeting might be the best solution if the problem is complicated or needs input from many different people.


What are alternatives to an ad hoc meeting?

Okay, let's face it. Ad hoc meetings aren't always fun. As we mentioned earlier, they can help in some situations, but they aren't always the best choice. So, here are three alternatives for you to consider before rushing to call for a meeting:


Email is a great way to reach out to the right people and let them know about an issue or problem that needs to be addressed. With a few back-and-forth emails, you might be able to get the information you need and avoid the need for a meeting altogether. Plus, email allows people to respond on their own time, making it a flexible option that doesn't require everyone to be available at the same time.

Descriptive videos

Sometimes, it can be helpful to create a descriptive video to share with your team to explain a complex issue or provide an update on a project. Tools like Loom make it easy to record and share videos, and your team can add comments and notes to provide additional context. This option allows team members to watch the entire content at their own convenience and respond with their thoughts or feedback when they have time.

Asynchronous meetings

Another alternative to ad hoc meetings is to schedule asynchronous meetings. This means that you set a time frame for team members to respond to a particular issue or question, but they can do so at their own convenience, unlike in synchronous meetings where communication happens in real-time. 

Collaboration tools like Trello or Asana are great for asynchronous communication, as team members can log in at different times and leave comments, feedback, or their thoughts, which other team members can respond to. This option allows everyone to have their say and collaborate effectively, without requiring everyone to be available at the same time.


Ad hoc meetings post Covid-19 pandemic

The COVID-19 challenges have shown how important communication is and how important it is to have meetings on short notice. Since more businesses and organizations are letting people work from home, unplanned meetings are even more important for solving urgent problems and making quick decisions.

With automated agendas and ending every meeting on the same page with AI-generated notes, summaries, and individualized action items, Dive can help you keep track of summarized discussions, decisions, and deadlines from across the entire organization to boost efficiency and move projects forward.


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