In his TED talk, Jason Fried, software executive and author of Rework, lambasts meetings as “toxic, terrible, poisonous things” that stifle productivity. He recommends finding ways to eliminate meetings, including more instant messaging and emailing.
Our take: Yes: Too many meetings are dysfunctional time bandits. But rather than abolishing meetings, make meetings great! Meetings should become places where differences of opinion yield better decisions and where the end product is far richer than any single contributor could have conceived.
Some keys to facilitating better meetings: Make the goals of the meeting clear. Tap the synergy of a group through rituals that invite quieter people into the conversation. Listen actively to whomever is speaking, including asking clarifying questions and paraphrasing before disagreeing. When you hear a good idea, acknowledge it. When group members realize they are influencing each other, energy, momentum and morale soar.
Please share your experience: What do you do to make meetings productive, inclusive and energized? Join the conversation and click "comments" on our Community of Practice Forum.
7/2/2014 09:16:23 am
7/3/2014 03:16:46 am
Thanks for this Jay Vogt YouTube post, Sarah. We are long time advocates of Appreciative Inquiry and are glad to see that there is an accessible way to view the process.
7/2/2014 04:16:33 pm
Thank you for another thought provoking capsule. While I agree that many meetings may be "toxic and terrible", I do not believe we can infer that meetings are bad. If we look at the statistics, we could conclude that many marriages are "toxic and terrible" - but does that mean that the concept of marriage should be abandoned? My own experience is that marriage is a sacred and rewarding adventure and staying married continues to be one of my best daily decisions.
7/3/2014 03:20:12 am
Thanks Brendon: Nice analogy! And we will remember and share your phrase "permission to contribute rather than comply" because it gets at a central issue of great meetings. (We're happy that you find our capsules thought provoking!)
8/5/2014 03:28:48 am
Wow, these are some great comments! Very interesting. Great comments Brendon. A meeting that does not really fill a need is a waste for all involved. Meetings can, and do, generate a really important creative energy - IF they are held for a specific purpose and input is genuinely wanted and encouraged from all.
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