Elise Keith

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

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

Survey Results: How often do teams meet during a crisis? (Updated July 2020)

Apr 6, 2020 by Elise Keith in meeting design (4 minute read)

How often should your team meet, and how has that changed in response to the Covid-19 pandemic/economic upheaval? We collected data from teams around the globe to find out! 

Research Background

This isn't a question researchers can easily answer, because the answer depends on so many factors.

When we've looked at this question in the past, we had to rely on the published advice of business consultants and process experts, most of which was designed for teams meeting as part of their business-as-usual operations.  

In our own research, we've talked with groups that meet just once per year because they must; it's mandated by law. Otherwise they wouldn't bother. We also spoke with one retired general who once had his teams run After Action Review meetings every 30 minutes during an especially intense training drill.

Finally, we know that in times of emergency, the group in charge of a coordinated emergency response will keep their communication channels open all day. Think of the war rooms you see in movies, or mission command, and you'll know what we're talking about.

These observations suggest that when you need to get people working together in a complex, rapidly evolving situation, you should meet a lot. We've recommended daily meetings at a minimum under these circumstances.

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Topics: meeting design

Meeting in Times of Rapid Change and Crisis

Apr 3, 2020 by Elise Keith in meeting design (21 minute read)

On April 1, 2020, we hosted a webinar with principals at the Mission Critical Teams Institute. We explored the communication practices business teams can learn from mission critical teams (firefighters, military, medical, and others who handle emergencies for a living) as we all work to adapt in times of rapid change.

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Topics: meeting design

Resources for Business Teams Coping with COVID-19

Mar 12, 2020 by Elise Keith (4 minute read)

On March 12, 2020, we sent a list of 14 resources to our newsletter. Our local government had just banned gatherings of more than 200 people, President Trump had closed the borders, and the NBA delayed their season. Like you, we're suddenly juggling a family at home, an unravelling economy, and the shock of worst-case scenario planning turned real. 

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The Right Story for Every Meeting

Feb 7, 2020 by Elise Keith in fun with meetings, tips & techniques (5 minute read)

We've all experienced the power of storytelling. A great story can inspire and move us in ways that spreadsheets or presentations full of bulleted lists never will.


We are wired to learn from stories. And yet, only a few rare leaders regularly tell stories in meetings. Most leaders limit themselves to dry information sharing and opinion statements, holding to a mistaken belief that storytelling is somehow unprofessional. But unlike most reports, a good story communicates both data and meaning simultaneously, which makes stories more efficient and effective. 

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Topics: fun with meetings, tips & techniques