Designing Meetings, Ninja Style

I’ve been on a covert operation. (Well, before this post it was covert.) Sometimes in my role I have the chance to assist with a meeting’s design, and I’ve been nudging various groups away from talking-head-fests into the realm of participatory possibility. A conversation today reminded me of a common folly when it comes to planning an in-person experience:

We try to jam in too much.

In a three hour window (including time to eat lunch), a group hoped to share a significant change, gather feedback, review several coaching tools and reports, and role play conversations. Take out eating time and the welcoming message and we’re left with two hours. Hmmmm.

I get itchy when it comes to valuable in-person meetings. This time is rare and precious. We do disservice to groups when head after head are trotted out or when we skim the surface of so many topics – creating the illusion that “we’ve covered that”.

I think of the brilliant soul who said: the only reason to have a meeting is to change the world. That guides me. If I’m a-coming to a meeting, help me change my world. Create a container where I can leave with more than what I came in with. Where I leave whole, not fragmented and whirling. Where we explore prickly topics and find glimmers of hope. Where I’m rejuvenated from connecting with my fellow tribe.

I’ve made some suggestions to the design of this meeting. Cross your fingers for the nudges.

How can you change your meetings so they change the world?