How We Created an Open API (and Added 1,000 New Integrations with Zapier)

January 10, 2018 at 9:00 AM by John Keith in meeting technology, release announcement

 

Originally Published: July 16, 2016 when Zapier had 500+ Applications!

We began planning our public API implementation in late 2015. We had numerous requests for full Read/Write API access to the data model and were responding to stated customer needs.

By early 2016 we had the first version of the API tested and preview-ready. But an interesting thing happened -- we started hearing that people wanted a "simplicity layer" on top of the programmer-level API. What form would that take, exactly?

We started hearing that people wanted a "simplicity layer" on top of the programmer-level API

Well boy howdy, were we ever glad to find Zapier! Here's the thing, Zapier provides a "point solution"-oriented approach that addresses specific needs that real people in the real word have identified—needs that were outside our direct experience.

The core trigger-action model implemented by Zapier is super easy for non-technical users, and the promise of building a simplicity layer was compelling and real. With Zapier's codeless integrations ("Zaps"), extending Lucid Meetings with workflow automation became easy as pie.

The Bottom Line

By developing a Zapier application (this is the piece that each online service builds to expose their service via Zapier), we gained several immediate benefits for our nascent API work:

  • an independent software application using our API,
  • a challenge to improve and extend our API in interesting ways,
  • immediate integration opportunities with hundreds of other services,
  • an opportunity to talk about easy-to-use integrations with our user community.

We were super excited to launch both the API and hundreds of Zapier-based integrations just a few months later.

But here's the biggest takeaway—in the short time since our initial Zapier release we've gained another 500 integration opportunities, simply by being part of the Zapier ecosystem!

As a service provider, we're thrilled to have our integration reach extended every day as new applications are launched on Zapier. And as customer advocates, we're even happier when those applications make life easier for users of our platform and services.

Read on for more background on our integration approach. Or skip all that and just start boosting your productivity by automating Lucid Meetings workflows this New Year.

Read More...

Topics: meeting technology, release announcement

What Makes a Meeting Worth Attending? (And How to Fix Yours)

January 5, 2018 at 2:38 PM by Elise Keith

When asked what they want most from the meetings they attend,
people ask for clarity.

We asked this question at the start of our most recent meeting survey–

“What do you feel makes a meeting worth attending and a good use of your time?”

–and the replies included 136 detailed answers to this question. Of those, 62% included the descriptors “clear”, “specific”, “defined”, and “concrete”.  “Relevant” was another popular adjective.

On the noun front, “agenda” was neck-and-neck with “outcomes”, as in “clear agenda” and “concrete outcomes”, suggesting that people not only want to know why they’re meeting, they also expect to get something out of the deal.

Leading to the question that drives nearly everything we do:

How can you achieve this clarity in your workplace meetings?

In 2017, we published several in-depth articles about understanding the business function of meetings.

Working with experts from several disciplines, we published comprehensive guides for running specific kinds of meetings. We shared a glossary, a taxonomy, and resources galore. It’s a start at answering this question.

In this vast realm of meeting possibilities, we’ve scratched the surface. It’s a nice, deep, keyed-your-car kind of scratch, but there’s still much more to key into.

Read More...

The Latte and Learn Community of Practice Meeting (Fast, Easy, Useful)

December 14, 2017 at 4:28 PM by Elise Keith in meeting design

Introducing Pilar Orti
The Lucid Meetings team is delighted to welcome our newest template designer, Pilar Orti. We’ve been following Pilar’s work for some time now. She is both a frequent collaborator of Lisette Sutherland’s and the director of Virtual not Distant. While preparing for an interview on Pilar’s podcast, we ran across her blog post about the Latte and Learn and invited her to share this process with the Lucid community. We’re thrilled that she agreed!
— Team Lucid

What does it mean to create a learning culture within your organization? Depending on your group’s size and complexity, a learning focus can take many forms including everything from full-blown certification coursework to the casual exchange of notes in chat. Somewhere in the middle of this range, there is a type of learning that is more focused and intentional than simply sharing notes, but much lighter and easier to pull together than a formalized training session.

The Latte and Learn process falls into this middle range, dedicating just 30 minutes for a team to learn something new from one of their colleagues. Here’s how it works.

Read More...

Topics: meeting design

Use These 5 Meeting Types to Improve Your Communication with Freelancers

November 14, 2017 at 1:41 PM by Jock Purtle in remote work, tips & techniques

As your business grows, you have two routes you can take when it comes to staffing: you can hire employees or you can work with freelancers.

Many businesses are realizing the benefits of hiring remote employees and freelancers, rather than hiring in-house employees.

However, managing a team of freelancers can have its own challenges. Communication and clear direction are key to ensuring the team understand their roles, responsibilities, goals and how to escalate problems.

You also need to ensure your in-house team understand the project and how they will work with the freelancers you hire.

Regular, structured meetings and open lines of communication help ensure everything stays on track. Through each stage of the project lifecycle, diarize key meetings and ensure resulting actions and queries are followed up on.

Freelancers often work remotely in different countries with different time zones and cultures. Online meeting solutions as well as cloud based project management tools mean there’s no excuses for not communicating effectively wherever you are.

Read More...

Topics: remote work, tips & techniques

A Periodic Table of Meetings (with Free Download)

October 30, 2017 at 2:34 PM by Elise Keith in behind the scenes, meeting design

In the month since we published a taxonomy of the 16 Types of Business Meetings, we’ve heard from many people who say it’s given them a useful new perspective on how to approach their meetings. We’ve also been asked many times about the chart featured in that post, which has since been shared on social media over a thousand times.

(Admittedly, not as hot as a Beyoncé snapshot, but c’mon! This is a taxonomy of meeting types we’re talking about here.)

The original post is very long and details the process we used to define each type.

Missed the original? If you have an hour, go read it now! Otherwise, here are the high points:

  1. A meeting is not a meeting. If you want to run better meetings, you need to know the best way to run the kind of meetings you need to run. Generic best practices won't cut it.
  2. You can tell that one meeting is different from another based on these characteristics:
    • the intention, or purpose and desired outcomes,
    • the meeting format,
    • and the expected participation profile, or, who normally runs and who normally attends these kind of meetings.
  3. We organized and sorted and grouped and examined every kind of meeting we could find, and narrowed them all down to 16 distinct types of meetings.

Throughout that process, we knew that there were important relationships between different kinds of meetings, and that exploring these relationships added yet another layer of usefulness to the taxonomy. When you understand not just the types, but also the relationships between meeting types, it gets much easier to answer the key question: Is this meeting the meeting we need?

Read More...

Topics: behind the scenes, meeting design

How Remote Meetings Can be More Productive For Developers and Designers

October 23, 2017 at 9:44 AM by Rishabh Saxena in remote work, tips & techniques

As more and more teams are collaborating remotely, having effective meetings between various stakeholders is key to successful projects. Developers and designers are two core stakeholders in this process.

Collaboration between them and the issues surrounding how designers share designs with developers are much talked about and clearly a question that has not been answered in whole.

Today, developer and design teams are spread across time zones to build products for a global audience. In such scenarios, communication is the key.

The people, processes, and tools all contribute to the communication process. Having transparent workflows that make it simple for everyone across the team setup to work with one another creates better communication channels.

When it comes to meetings for developers and designers, issues of scope, feasibility, bugs, navigation, and aesthetics are some of the main talking points. Left unmoderated and unchecked, they can stagnate projects to no end.

Read More...

Topics: remote work, tips & techniques

The 16 Types of Business Meetings (and Why They Matter)

September 23, 2017 at 4:15 PM by Elise Keith in meeting design

There is SO MUCH advice out there about how to run meetings, and most of it is just useless.

It’s not that the advice is wrong, per se. It’s just not specific enough.

For example, it’s not wrong to tell people they need an agenda with clear outcomes listed for every topic. It just doesn’t apply to a lot of situations. A detailed agenda for the one-on-one with my boss? For the sales demo? For our morning huddle? Yeah, I don’t think so. For the board meeting or the requirements analysis meeting? Absolutely.

Sometimes an organization has a pervasive problem with meetings. People complain that there are too many meetings, nothing gets done, it’s wasted time, it’s all power and politics instead of productivity—and they start to look for solutions. They find lots of generic advice, and they find lots of this kind of drivel:

Read More...

Topics: meeting design

The 4 Meeting Agendas that Drive Strategic Execution (Plus Guidebooks for Each)

August 18, 2017 at 10:21 AM by Elise Keith in leadership & facilitation, strategy

When we started Lucid Meetings, it wasn’t because we were all excited about meetings. It was because meetings are the most powerful tool, but also the most neglected, underdeveloped, and misapplied tool, we can use to create a healthy business.

The meetings aren’t the goal. It’s the well-run business that we're after.

Recently we’ve been exploring the science and theory behind what makes meetings successful. You can read all about the core function of meetings, the underlying structures that make them work, and the science behind effective decision making in meetings on our blog.

Today, we’re putting all that into practice. This post covers the core meetings that drive effective business management.

Read More...

Topics: leadership & facilitation, strategy

The Lucid Guide to High Performance Meetings (Sneak Peek!)

July 29, 2017 at 9:25 AM by Elise Keith in meeting design

Those who've followed this blog over time know there's a lot of meaty content about meetings here. When it comes to high performance business meetings, we've covered a lot of ground and provided resources now used by thousands of people to help them run better meetings.

It's a lot of useful material, and it's all over the map.

This past year, several people have asked us to wrap all this up in an easy-to-use book format. Something they can browse through and reference more easily. Something that provides a more useful start, middle, and end than our website.

So that's what we're going to do!

Read More...

Topics: meeting design

The Meeting Performance Maturity Model (and How to Measure Yours)

June 11, 2017 at 5:09 PM by Elise Keith in meeting design

Learning to run a meeting well is a worthy accomplishment. In successful meetings, teams unite and work takes flight.

When all goes well, that is. Run poorly, meetings are a blight on productivity.

Leading one good meeting matters, but as we all know, meetings are not solitary beasts. Only bad meetings live alone; failed sales calls and botched negotiations are not joined by a second meeting.

The rest of our meetings travel in packs, each connected to and reliant on the success of the meetings that surround them.

Some organizations understand this. They know that the way meetings work has an outsized impact on how the organization works.

Some organizations put this understanding to work, and actively shape the meetings that shape their culture. They know that how they meet largely defines who they are.

We can chart how well an organization manages meetings with a standard performance maturity model.

Read More...

Topics: meeting design