Elise Keith

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

How Coda's Meeting Operating System Ensures Every Conversation Has a Home

Dec 16, 2019 by Elise Keith in meeting design (9 minute read)

This blog is full of advice for running a great meeting. Of course, teams don't run just one meeting. Teams run lots and lots of meetings.

Now, if you have oodles of spare time, you can design each and every one of your team's meetings from scratch using the advice you'll find here. No one has those oodles, however, which is why—despite the ready availability of all this super practical how-to goodness–lots of folks just make stuff up.

Other teams find a better way. They design their meetings up front, then codify these designs into a Meeting Operating System that makes it easy for them to run those meetings over and over again.

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Topics: meeting design

The Story Behind Our Meeting Flow Model for Pilot Programs

Dec 9, 2019 by Elise Keith in meeting design, case studies, strategy (12 minute read)

It doesn't matter what kind of team you work on or what you're trying to do - if you can't get that team to all agree and do their part, you fail.

Teamwork is the practice of agreeing on a shared goal and then dividing the work required to achieve that goal amongst the team members. To get that agreement and coordinate all that doing, you've got to communicate.

We're coming up on our 10th anniversary here at Lucid, and over all those years, we've done our fair share of failing. One of our more painful failures came about through a failure to effectively communicate.

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Topics: meeting design, case studies, strategy

How to Create a Useful Meeting Flow Model for Your Team

Dec 3, 2019 by Elise Keith in meeting design (10 minute read)

A Meeting Flow Model is a form of process documentation that highlights the main meetings used to achieve a business result. In the previous article, I introduced the Meeting Flow Model (MFM) concept and described some of the benefits enjoyed by teams that use a defined MFM. Meeting Flow Models are super sweet.

You and your team can get these benefits too, but only after you start using an MFM and then work to refine it for your unique needs.

How do you get a useful Meeting Flow Model for your team?

By doing some Meeting Flow Modeling.

Meeting Flow Modeling is a multi-step process that takes teams several days–and often longer–to complete. In our Quickstart program, we walk teams through this process over the course of several weeks. I'm sharing this in case you think the process below looks a little complicated at first glance. Please keep in mind that this isn't something you're going to knock out in an afternoon.

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Topics: meeting design

Why Meeting Flow Models are the Key to Unlocking Your Team's Meeting Success

Dec 1, 2019 by Elise Keith in meeting design (14 minute read)

For every significant goal your company needs to achieve, your team meets. In most companies, these meetings get very little forethought. They're just part of what happens as you do the work.

In other companies, teams plan out the meetings they'll use to achieve their goals. They design each meeting, just like they design the forms they use for capturing data and the reports they'll use to measure progress.

This meeting design work is a critical but often neglected aspect of successful business process design.

Here at Lucid, we call the design of a series of meetings related to a specific business process Meeting Flow Modeling. If you've ever heard me talk about the three parts of an effective Meeting Operating System, you may recognize this term.

Meeting Flow Model
A Meeting Flow Model is a form of process documentation that highlights the main meetings used to achieve a business result.

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Topics: meeting design

Talking Across Differences

Nov 21, 2019 by Elise Keith in tips & techniques (6 minute read)

How do you meet respectfully with people you don't understand or agree with?

As we go into the holidays and strategic planning season, we have so many opportunities to bridge the chasms between us. But how?

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Topics: tips & techniques

The 7 Most Frequently Asked Questions about Leading Engaging Meetings

Sep 30, 2019 by Elise Keith in tips & techniques, training (18 minute read)

Last week we launched Barbara MacKay's new Meeting School course on How to Lead Engaging Meetings. It's sweet. I took it and learned a bunch of handy new tips, and I had fun too. Barbara's a dynamic, warm presenter and a joy to watch.

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Topics: tips & techniques, training

How To Establish an Effective Decision-Making Process for Your Team in 5 Simple Steps

Sep 16, 2019 by Elise Keith in leadership & facilitation, meeting design, strategy (24 minute read)

Many teams lack a clear process for making decisions. Others create decision-making processes that are plenty clear, but take forever. Most employ a confused mix, running some decisions through an agonizing gauntlet of analysis but leaving others up to the leader-of-the-day's whims.

These teams waste money and time. They also undermine the group's confidence and trust.

Who wants to work on a team where nothing gets done, because no one ever makes a decision without first checking and re-analyzing 97,000 times? Not me. Not you, I'm guessing.

None of us wants to work with a leader who makes arbitrary decisions based on secret criteria, either. While executive mandate sounds powerful, in reality it means that the leader couldn't get anyone else to back that decision with them, so they chose to bully it into being instead.

What works? And if your team doesn't have great decision making habits, how do you get started?

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Topics: leadership & facilitation, meeting design, strategy

Want Better Engagement in Meetings? Take Some Tips From This Fabulous Ship Full of Nerds

May 28, 2019 by Elise Keith in meeting design (5 minute read)

I often find inspiration for better meetings from gatherings outside the business world. I'm curious: what is it that makes someone who grimaces through every meeting pony up good money to gather with other people after work? Why do so many people raise their hands claiming to hate meetings when I speak at meetings they had to pay to attend? 

People don't hate meetings. They hate pointless wastes of their time. So what does success look like?

Successful gatherings of all types share several common characteristics. The JoCo cruise is one such successful gathering.

Mermaids relaxing at a JoCo cruise stop. Pic by Steve Petrucelli

Billed as a "nerdy summer camp at sea," the JoCo cruise is an affinity cruise for lovers of sci-fi, fantasy, board games, and all things deliciously nerdy. More importantly, as John Schwartz writes in the New York Times, the JoCo cruise regularly creates a "floating community of friends."

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Topics: meeting design

6 Reasons Most Efforts to Fix a Bad Meeting Culture Fail and How You Can Beat the Odds

Mar 14, 2019 by Elise Keith in leadership & facilitation, training (13 minute read)

Earlier this week we announced the opening of Meeting School, the world's only online educational marketplace dedicated to meeting skills education. Meeting School offers courses taught by the team at Lucid and by meeting specialists, scientists, and experts from around the globe.

At Lucid Meetings, our mission is to make it easy for teams to run successful meetings every day. Teaching teams the skills they need to run successful meetings seems like an obvious way for us to fulfill this mission, and yet we're just now opening our first courses to students.

For years, when I shared the Lucid mission with new people they would say "Oh, so you do training? Workshops and things?" They assumed that a group looking to run better meetings would need workshops.

But we'd seen too many organizations invest in failed quick-fix meeting improvement programs, and we weren't interested in creating yet another well-meaning but doomed-to-fail batch of meeting training.

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Topics: leadership & facilitation, training

Maturing The Meeting Performance Maturity Model

Sep 5, 2018 by Elise Keith in meeting design (11 minute read)

The Anna Karenina phenomenon builds on the first line of Tolstoy’s novel, which states:

“Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”

When it comes to how an organization meets, we find the opposite to be more true.  Unhappy organization are all alike; every happy organization meets in its own way.

The organizations that provide the case study examples for organizational excellence, cultural cohesion, and that achieve the enviable combination of economic performance and a healthy workplace have all discovered ways to meet that are both effective and tailored for them.

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Topics: meeting design