How to design a meeting

Daniel W. Rasmus has started an interesting series of blog posts on the design of meetings, or more specifically, the design of meetings that use collaborative software. He introduces his first post in a series with these words:

Welsh WatersHow to Design a Meeting: Lesson 1

We all run meetings like we know what we’re doing. We have been to so many meetings we just know how to run them. What we really know is how to model and perpetuate the poor habits and practices of our mentors and coaches, managers and colleagues.  In the era of collaboration software our meetings need to be redesigned so they are driven through the collaboration environment in real-time, as the meeting takes place. Stop all the e-mails and document duplications, or even worse, handouts and get people to engage in a collaborative way through a meeting environment that captures all of the content, the tasks and the decisions in one view (not necessarily, as you will read, in one place).

The other day I finished work exhausted. As I sat and considered what I had achieved that day I realised that I had spent most of it in meetings, but what had I achieved? Honestly, precious little. Why was that? Well, and this is where I might be getting a bit too personal for some, boredom tires me out, and I’d spent much of the day bored.

I’m not saying that meetings are boring, but I am suggesting that many of the meetings that I attend are boring. Sometimes meetings need to happen that are in their very make-up dull, the context and the subject makes it difficult to make them interesting. These are the minority of meetings though, many meetings with interesting content are made colourless by the way that we run them. We spend so much of our time in meetings we should care that they are effective. If a meeting is effective it, at least, has a chance of not being boring.

I need to hold my hands up here and apologise for the drab meetings that I’ve run too, there’s a lot I need to learn, relearn and unlearn. Daniel has provided an infographic of where he is going with the series, I’ll read with interest:

One thought on “How to design a meeting”

  1. Interesting. I’m thinking of how I can use our corporate tools to implement some of these bearing in mind many meeting include external participants too. Maybe it’s time I looked at our secure collaborative space.

    The “Don’t take minutes” tip is interesting. One task I dislike doing but feel it’s a necessity; or maybe it’s an imposed necessity as a sort of proof that something happened in the meeting! 🙂


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