Meeting Planning

Still working on that project of meetings that don’t waste people’s time.  I’d like to do better than that —  meetings that are fun, meetings that get things done, meetings that inspire or build teamwork for the future — but there are still a lot of stuck patterns that get in the way of making even the low bar.

For one thing, we’re still struggling to get remote people able to participate in a meeting.  At our last meeting, we planned ahead to run Skype,  but had last minute problems both human and technical.  And Skype is not an ideal solution when a handful of people are remote and the vast majority are in the room.  It’s just not what it’s for.   We’re going to try Skype again but I’m also interested in investigating other conferencing solutions.

For another thing, keeping enough control over the agenda but not so much that I don’t get to find out anything new by having the meeting, is an interesting balancing act.  One thing I’m learning is that going around the room giving reports by division is almost always a fail.   Boring.  Disjointed.  No narrative.   It worked once, when the question around the room was  “what do you have to do to get ready for X deadline” .  But open ended reports?  Not making me happy.

Next meeting, I’m planning to experiment with getting the division reports boiled down to about a sentence or two each and onto a handout in advance.

It is completely impossible to over-prepare for running a meeting. At least I haven’t managed to do it yet.  The meeting I’m currently trying to over-prepare for is a full-day retreat of about 25 people — almost all my division heads and some of the assistant division heads.  I think they trust me not to waste their time at this point.  But I’d like this to be really something special, and fun.