5 Steps to Improving Engagement in Meetings

Jul 30, 2018 by Elise Keith in meeting design (29 minute read)

Note: This post is an excerpt from Chapter 8 in Where the Action Is: the Meetings That Make or Break Your Organization, available now on Amazon.com

Participation propels perceived meeting quality. We call it participation when we are attending a meeting—as in, "I had a chance to participate." Meeting leaders often use the term engagement to describe the same thing.

The Spectrum of Meeting Engagement

Engagement is about getting the individual into the meeting, about breaking through the noise and fog of whatever may be going on for each person so they can focus their will on the collective goals. Meeting engagement is observable behavior; you can see whether or not someone engages in a meeting. This engagement falls across a spectrum of behavior that looks something like this.

At the bottom end of the spectrum, you have the Disruptive behavior— things like:

  • Arriving late or not at all, or leaving early
  • Side conversations
  • Interrupting
  • Complaining
  • Excessive negativity and personal attacks

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Topics: meeting design

A Guide to Holding Interviews Before a Conflict Resolution

May 25, 2018 by Tree Bressen in meeting design (5 minute read)

The Lucid Meetings team is thrilled to introduce Tree Bressen. Tree has been blessed with a calling to help groups function well. As a consultant and facilitator, her work focuses on alignment of human action towards purpose. Tree is also the founder of the nonprofit collective producer of Group Works: A Pattern Language for Bringing Life to Meetings and Other Gatherings. We use these cards in our own workshops, and have found them to be wonderfully valuable for encouraging dialogue with a group.
—Team Lucid

Most of the time, work hums along and people work out tensions as they arise. Sometimes, it’s not like that—sometimes things get really stuck. When relationships are broken (low trust, poor communication, inability to work together well), nothing else functions, and the whole work process slows to nearly nothing. For the people involved, unresolved conflicts cause a lot of suffering; fortunately that also means once the stuckness is cleared, those same humans experience vast relief. Often this also brings relief to others around them, who were being impacted too.

When people are at an impasse and need help working things out, sometimes a facilitator is asked to assist. The facilitator’s role is to help them find a path to a positive future, a path they have not reached on their own. When i* am asked to facilitate this type of situation, i’ve learned to conduct pre-meeting interviews in preparation for the conflict resolution session with the same diligence and care i bring to the later meeting. Here is an example of how such interviews can be conducted, and what practices build trust with each individual before tackling the difficult conversation in the group.

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Topics: meeting design

Battle Axes to Boardrooms: A Discussion with Wilbert Van Vree

Apr 13, 2018 by Elise Keith in book review, fun with meetings (11 minute read)

Meetings, Manners, and Civilization: The Development of Modern Meeting Behaviour, written by sociologist and meeting expert Wilbert Van Vree, was originally published in 1999, but I just finished it this March. Of the five meeting books I read this spring, this was by far the most thought-provoking, so I asked Dr. Van Vree if he'd be willing to discuss it with us here on the Lucid blog. He agreed!

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Topics: book review, fun with meetings

The Real-Time Agenda Technique

Mar 22, 2018 by Elise Keith in tips & techniques (15 minute read)

I was enjoying lunch at a technology conference with a group of CTOs from high-powered companies when the conversation turned from blockchain to meetings.

It’s funny how that always happens.

First, we heard about the awful meetings held at a large manufacturing company. Then, it was the CTO for an NFL team's turn.

“My team meetings are terrible!” he exclaimed. “My problem is my co-manager. If it were up to me, we’d have an agenda for every meeting and a report afterwards. I’m an orderly type of guy. Like, you should see my sock drawer. It’s amazing! But my partner thinks that’s all too formal and stuffy, so whenever I bring an agenda he just ignores it. Then of course the meetings always go long, we never get through what we wanted to talk about, and we just end up having more meetings to hash it out again. I guess I should put my foot down and start forcing him to use an agenda.”

He sighed.

There are easily five things you could pick out of that statement as problems worth addressing, but the big one is the conflicting beliefs between the managers. One wants to “follow rules," the other sees rules as needless constraints.

“Have you heard of a real-time agenda? Or Lean Coffee?” I asked. He hadn’t, so I explained the concept.

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Topics: tips & techniques

How to Use Meeting Skills From the Workplace to Improve Conversations With Your Kids

Mar 2, 2018 by Paul Axtell in tips & techniques (7 minute read)

We said this in our last post and we'll say it again:

You get what you tolerate.

When you tolerate subpar behavior from your family members, your colleagues or your significant other, that's what you'll get. 

Meetings, in their truest form, are conversations - and conversations are a constant in our lives. Whether we're at work, with family, or socializing - they allow people to connect and understand each other better. 

What if you could improve conversations with your kids - and even have them buy in to the idea? 

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Topics: tips & techniques

Using Ground Rules to Improve Engagement and Run Excellent Team Meetings

Feb 4, 2018 by Elise Keith in tips & techniques (10 minute read)

You get what you tolerate.

I’ve heard this adage many times when complaining about my dog’s behavior, and occasionally regarding my children too. The person sharing that wisdom is telling me that my dog’s and my children’s poor behavior persists because I allow it to; because I’m creating the conditions where that kind of thing can occur not just once, but repeatedly.

Recently we hosted a webinar on how to increase engagement during team meetings, and we asked people who registered about the number one meeting engagement problem they hoped we could help solve.

Several registrants asked about how to deal with the person who won’t stop talking, making it hard for anyone else to get a word in. Several others asked about how to get people to show up on time, or even to show up at all.

I shared some specific techniques for helping with these situations in the webinar, but as more and more of these replies kept coming in, I couldn’t help but hear that adage echo in the back of my head.

You get what you tolerate.

While I believe that’s true to a degree, I never found it particularly useful!

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Topics: tips & techniques

How to Create a Decision Matrix with Your Team (and why you need one!)

Jan 20, 2018 by Tammy Adams Spann in meeting design (4 minute read)

Introducing Tammy Spann
The Lucid Meetings team is delighted to welcome our newest template designer, Tammy Adams Spann. We first met Tammy at a workshop she and David Spann conducted on decision making in meetings (a topic near and dear to our hearts) where they introduced Eric Coryell's Decision Matrix. We love the clarity the Decision Matrix brings to decision-making for leadership teams. We're thrilled Tammy agreed to share her process for helping teams get clear on how key decisions will be made by filling out your own Decision Matrix.  

Read on to learn how Tammy learned this technique and get her guide to using it in your organization.
— Team Lucid

 

Have you ever given your opinion and had it implemented as a decision? Worse yet, have you made a decision only to have it overridden by someone higher up the food chain?

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Topics: meeting design

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

Jan 10, 2018 by John Keith in meeting technology, release announcement (6 minute read)

 

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.

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Topics: meeting technology, release announcement

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

Jan 5, 2018 by Elise Keith (17 minute read)

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.

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

Dec 14, 2017 by Elise Keith in meeting design (6 minute read)

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.

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Topics: meeting design