Elise Keith

Lucid Meetings Co-Founder, based in Portland, OR
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Recent Posts

It's Time to Talk About Your Meetings. Here's How to Get Started.

Apr 30, 2021 by Elise Keith in meeting culture (7 minute read)

"How can we reduce the time we're spending in meetings?"

I used to love it when clients asked me this, because wow - what a softball! This is easy math. To reduce time wasted in unproductive meetings, you can:

  1. Cancel meetings.
    Look for any meeting that lacks a clear purpose or goals, and get rid of it.

  2. Shorten meetings.
    Whack 10 minutes off of every recurring meeting on your calendar, and stick to the new time limit.

  3. Invite fewer people.
    Eliminate meeting time for those people, who probably have better things to do anyway.

  4. Assign a timekeeper.
    This increases your team's awareness of time passing in the meeting and your odds of ending on time or early.

Here's a quicky video summing up these easy-math tips.

 

But do these simple answers help the smart professionals asking this question? 

No.

Of course not, because this isn't really a math question.

This is a question about how to change a team's meeting culture.

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Topics: meeting culture

5 Rules for Leading Excellent Meetings with Your Team Every Day

Jan 25, 2021 by Elise Keith in leadership & facilitation, meeting design (7 minute read)

Successful businesses do the things that others know they should do …. but generally don’t.

~ Ari Weinzwig's 7th Natural Law of Business

So let's talk about those things you need to do to run great everyday business meetings with your teams. And yes, I'm going to share some guidelines you may already know.

Hopefully, you'll be inspired to follow them.

It's worth the effort. The leaders we've met who follow these "rules" enjoy more productivity, more loyalty, more engagement, better decision making, and less BS drama between team members than everyone else. And frankly, none of this is actually that hard to do.

Here are five rules for team meetings that I share with my business clients, and that I wish someone had taught me when I started my business.

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Topics: leadership & facilitation, meeting design

3+ Ways to Approach Strategic Planning

Sep 14, 2020 by Elise Keith in strategy (2 minute read)

As 2020 continues to teach us all how much God enjoys a good laugh at our plans, we've noticed a dramatic uptick in the number of people downloading strategic planning meeting templates.


Strategic planning isn't a type of meeting. It's a process, and there are many ways you can approach that process.

We have several strategic planning resources available on the Lucid Meetings websites, each of which serves different types of groups and situations. If you've only seen one of these resources, you might find the alternatives useful too.

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Topics: strategy

Communicating in Real Time, Near Time, and Far Time

Sep 8, 2020 by Elise Keith in communication architecture (8 minute read)

Behind the scenes here at Lucid Meetings, we talk a lot about how to support organizations as they work to establish a robust, effective, and resilient communication architecture.

Communication Architecture
The method and frequency by which information, attention, and intent flows between people, teams, and systems in your organization.

See also Meeting Flow Models and Meeting Operating Systems.

Today, I'm inviting you to "think out loud" with us as we work to refine these ideas.

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Topics: communication architecture

How to Identify and Eliminate Meetings That Waste Your Team's Time

Aug 4, 2020 by Elise Keith in leadership & facilitation (8 minute read)

In previous articles, we explored ways to determine the best-fit meeting cadence for your team. An effective meeting cadence means your team is talking often enough to maintain momentum and build solid working relationships, but not so often that they have trouble completing other work. 

Looking at the many examples provided in these articles, I hope we can agree that most teams have some meetings which are required to successfully achieve their goals. If we accept that we need at least some meetings, we can reject the lazy idea that we'll fix our unproductive meeting problem by just cancelling lots of meetings.

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Topics: leadership & facilitation

How to Find the Most Productive Meeting Schedule for a Team Like Yours

Aug 4, 2020 by Elise Keith in leadership & facilitation, meeting design (11 minute read)

Too much time wasted in unproductive meetings. This remains a top contender on the list of workplace complaints, as it has been for at least 700 years.


Some folks wrestling with this complaint assume that the solution is to simply reduce the amount of time spent in meetings, ideally through the elimination of as many meetings as possible. This is a tidy, easily measured approach, which can yield a quick claim to victory.

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Topics: leadership & facilitation, meeting design

Case Study: Conservation Colorado Eliminates Employees' Top Complaint

Jul 20, 2020 by Elise Keith in case studies (8 minute read)

Too much time wasted in unproductive meetings.  Ineffective meetings plague companies around the globe, making this a top complaint for employees at every level.

Conservation Colorado engaged Lucid Meetings to help them improve their meeting performance, which had been consistently rated the number one problem in their annual employee feedback surveys.

I spoke with Nikki Riedt, Conservation Colorado's Operation and Finance Director, at the end of our engagement together about their experience. I'm delighted to be able to share that feedback with you here.

Background

Conservation Colorado is an organization working to protect Colorado’s climate, air, land, water, and communities through organizing, advocacy, and elections.

The level of urgency and scrutiny surrounding climate change has skyrocketed. In response to this rapidly changing landscape, Conservation Colorado's changed too. By the time they contacted Lucid, the executive team featured many leaders who were new to the organization within the past year, and the total number of employees was growing rapidly.

What wasn't changing? The way they all felt about their meetings.

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Topics: case studies

Top 5 Tips for Smarter Meetings (Times 12!)

Jun 9, 2020 by Elise Keith in behind the scenes, fun with meetings, tips & techniques (9 minute read)

Recently we hosted two online parties where we invited folks to join us in creating a big list of Tip-Top Top Tips for Smarter Meetings. The whole event was an experiment. We wondered:

  • Would it work to combine all these different meeting techniques?
  • How much real value could a group of random strangers create within an hour?
  • Would anyone find this interesting enough to show up?

Much to my great surprise, we were joined by nearly 80 people over the two sessions. The techniques we practiced worked better the second time through, which is a testament to the value of practice. And it turns out that interested, engaged people can quickly create a lot of value when given the opportunity and structure.

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Topics: behind the scenes, fun with meetings, tips & techniques

How to Run a Strategic Pivot Meeting with Your Team

May 6, 2020 by Elise Keith in meeting design (7 minute read)

How is your organization going to survive and thrive in the emerging economy?


That's the question on everyone's mind right now.

Later when we look back, it will seem so clear. Our grandchildren will shake their heads and say:

"If I was alive back then, I totally would have...."

And then the smug little darlings will fill in the blank with whatever proves to be so very obvious in hindsight. Whatever that is, it's not so obvious now.

All we have are clues. Historic events that share some of the same patterns. Bits and pieces of evidence that, if we could just summon enough inner Sherlock, we could see a perfectly correct, elementary solution.

We have a fogged-over, dirty window of opportunity. We can't see what's on the other side of this window, and we're racing towards the future at full speed.

We have no choice but to move forward into this uncertainty. We can't wait for the answers, because if we do, we'll miss the opportunity to be a part of creating those answers.

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Topics: meeting design

Tips for Taking In-Person Training and Workshops Online

Apr 7, 2020 by Elise Keith in meeting technology, leadership & facilitation, remote work, meeting design (10 minute read)

If you're a trainer, workshop facilitator, faith-community leader, event planner, or consultant, you convene groups for a living.


You've probably designed your work assuming you'll be in the same room with the group you're serving.

Now, like everyone else, you need to figure out how to deliver your services online.

You're working fast and feeling a lot of pressure to have an answer for your clients now. You also want to keep your existing contracts intact as much as possible. It was hard enough to get these sessions scheduled in the first place, so you really don't want to have that discussion again.

Unfortunately, this desire to keep the transition from in-person to virtual as simple and direct as possible is driving many experts to make some poor choices. They're also missing some big opportunities.

Here are three of the most important mistakes we see experts make when they first redesign in-person events for online delivery, and some tips about what to do instead.

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Topics: meeting technology, leadership & facilitation, remote work, meeting design