We’re delighted to report that our long anticipated integration with Google Calendar and Google Chrome is now available in the Google Chrome store.
Anyone with a Google account can install the Chrome extension. This integrates Lucid into your Google universe by adding a quick-drop panel to your Chrome menu, and a new option to add Lucid meetings to the events on your Google calendar.
Angela, one of our newest customers, called in with a problem.
She’d started using Lucid to organize and run her meetings, and had her team log in too. She felt more organized, and was happy with the automated records she got afterwards, but she wasn’t getting the kind of engagement from the rest of the group she’d hoped for.
In November, I was pleased to be invited to present our advice for running successful virtual meetings to the Government of Alberta as part of their Greening Government Speaker Series.
The series goal is to stimulate interest, discussion and action to help governments reduce their carbon footprint and support a sustainable approach to operation. (Learn more about the series on the MCCAC website.)
While our team cares about climate change deeply and we work to do what we can, it would be more than a stretch to say this is an area we're typically asked to speak on.
Behind every effort to improve an organization’s meetings, you’ll find a larger initiative focused on increasing productivity and improving culture.
Organizations that run effective meetings as a matter of course do so because it improves the productivity and cohesion of teams as a whole, in a way that individual productivity improvements can’t match.
To maximize the productivity of a meeting, and of meetings in general, it helps to understand exactly what you expect meetings to produce.
When we work in collaboration with other people, we have two things we have to take care of to be successful.
The work and the people.
In theory, the work should be something we can plan and manage logically. After each piece of work begins, there are a series of tasks to complete and problems to solve that continue on until the work is done.
Also in theory, the people doing the work should be able to coordinate their efforts through a simple exchange of factual information. When Fred completes task A, he marks it done, and Betty starts task B. When Alan runs into a problem with the work, he could write down the facts of the situation and send them to others for help – help they could then offer in any number of ways that do not involve a team meeting.
Clean, efficient, and logical. When the work is well understood and routine, this approach makes sense. The people doing the work click along like a "well-oiled machine".
One of the fabulous things about building online software is that it makes it possible to quickly make changes based on customer feedback. Here at Lucid, we strive to update the software each week with small changes and fixes, and to release at least one significant improvement every month or two. We’re pretty good about announcing the fancy new features, but we haven’t been as consistent about sharing all those smaller features, updates, and bug fixes that our customers care about.
Let’s fix that, shall we?
Below you’ll find details and screenshots about things that changed for the better in Lucid Meetings over the past few months. Finally, at the end, we’ll share a bit about what we have in the works. For those of you who use Lucid (or who plan to), consider this an invitation to collaborate!
Meetings bring a group together to quickly discover answers and ideas that no one person can find by themselves.
Whether we’re working to negotiate the details of a new project, finding a way to tackle a challenging problem, or seeking to define our strategic vision, the pattern is the same; someone poses a question, and the group starts brainstorming answers.
Effective brainstorming is essential to nearly every type of business meeting.
Unfortunately, not all questions are created equally.
Sometimes the questions asked in a meeting don’t invite meaningful answers. Asking “Everyone good with that?” after dictating a decision isn’t an effective way to surface real concerns or get real commitments.
Some questions are too vague, making it unclear what kind of answer to give. Questions like “Do you have any feedback?” result in either polite non-replies (e.g., “Nope, I’m good.”) or long-winded side discussions that don’t necessarily get to the answers the group needs.
Getting great ideas from a group during a meeting can be hard, and for many participants, traditional brainstorming can feel like a painful waste of time.
First, despite the popularity of brainstorming sessions, we have some evidence that meetings aren’t always the best place to birth new ideas. Ideal or not, however, sometimes a meeting is the only real opportunity we have to explore ideas as a group, so we’d better make it work.
Some people don’t seem to understand the difference between a group meeting and a personal consultation, taking it upon themselves to dominate the meeting by answering all the questions first, loudly, and in great detail.