Streamlining Meetings – Just DO it

By Jeremy Britton, Project Manager – Unified Support Model

“Meetings are a great and necessary part of office life…” This is how Michael opened our first workshop around the theme of Streamlining Meetings. Gauging the reactions of colleagues via Zoom is not always easy (one of Zoom’s challenges), but those in attendance didn’t balk or cringe at this statement. There was a general agreement that we all need meetings, in some shape or form, in order to be able to do what we do. It is the shape and the form of all these that people take issue with. It is what happens in and around the meetings that we would like to be able to streamline.

The Streamlining Meetings workshop, and the Zoom we found ourselves on, came about because of the “Distributed Office” survey at the start of summer. The survey had identified the needs, gaps and challenges in working as part of a distributed team and one key area that came up was that people felt like they were not getting the most out of meetings. This manifested in some clear needs:

  • I need a way to keep meetings on track
  • I need to create a space for equal voices
  • I need to get the most out of the time I have
  • I need it to be easier to minute
  • I need alternatives to a meeting

Arguably the most valuable insight we gleaned from running the workshop was that these insights were not new or surprising.  Everyone knew a bad meeting when they saw one. For the most part, everyone also knew what needed to be done to make meetings better. Getting to better, however, is the tricky part – the difference between making this better and wishing they were better. The gap  between knowing what needs to change and changing it is often more of a chasm than a pothole. Finding the tools, approaches and fellow bridge-builders to help you span that chasm, or at least start the journey, is what people needed most.  (Starting the journey to spanning a chasm is a bit of a mixed metaphor, I know).

So what can we do beyond just wishing things were better?

This brings us to one of our offerings in the Distributed Office series of sessions – DO Streamlining Meetings. This session works through the challenges and needs you may have, using some simple tools and approaches, to get to practical first step, and ideas beyond, in making things better… crossing the chasm rather than just starting.  This session aims to connect people with the practical things they can do to move from “If only…” towards “This is how we do things”.  To book a place, go to the InfoHub Booking Centre

To end… meetings are important and useful, some of them are not as productive as we would like them to be, we tend to have a broad sense of what is wrong and what could be better… this session is about turning desire and insight into the kind of action you can put into practice in your own environment.