14 September 2007

Reverendmother asks us: In honor of a couple of marathon meetings she attended this week:

1. What's your view of meetings?
a) When they're good, they're good. I love the feeling of people working well together on a common goal.
b) I don't seek them out, but I recognize them as a necessary part of life.
c) The only good meeting is a canceled meeting.
Having spent several years in the business world where meetings the necessary means of working, I have to go with A, but B is there, too. It depends who is running the meeting and the particular culture of the group you're working with.

2. Do you like some amount of community building or conversation, or are you all business?
It depends on the time alotted, the work to be done and the context of the meeting.
  • If the group meeting is not to be a long-standing group, but just meeting for a few times with a specific agenda, I'm all work.
  • If it is a long-standing group it's sometimes great to do a meal or refreshments before (also cuts down on late arrivals).
  • Ice-breakers are also great when forming new groups... in a work environment these are different, but still quite appropriate.
  • For session, I think a devotion time should be part of the agenda, but should usually be managed within a time slot.

3. How do you feel about leading meetings? Share any particular strengths or weaknesses you have in this area.
No problem. I've moderated many meetings in my past life.

the trick is recognizing when people NEED to discuss something and when they're grandstanding. Reflective listening to restate the ramblers also helps dramatically. It's really understanding the people in the meeting, the sensitivity of the topics and knowing when to keep rigidly to the schedule, when to allow flexibility, when to take a break, to table something; to silence someone or to prompt someone for an opinion; the time for humor [or not], and, with session, when to call a break for prayer. Oh, and when to cancel the meeting or topic because people didn't prepare.

The moderation will make or break a meeting and that will make or break the cooperative climate of the group.

4. Have you ever participated in a virtual meeting? (conference call, IM, chat, etc.) What do you think of this format?
I don't like them. All of the non-vocal communication is removed and many of us rely on that non-vocal communication to really understand. There is also a problem with hearing everyone, people who are loud tend to dominate, and it's easy to run roughshod over anyone who is quietly trying to understand.

5. Share a story of a memorable meeting you attended.
2 hour business meetin with 6 team leaders (1 new), we discussed all the issues from all the angles and were all ready to leave when the newbie slammed her hand on the table and said she wasn't leaving until she had a decision. At this point, we realized we had 5 "P"s and 1 "J".

No comments: