Elise Keith

Lucid Meetings Co-Founder, based in Portland, OR
Find me on:

Recent Posts

A New Kind of Icebreaker: Create Meeting Notes Together

Jan 26, 2017 by Elise Keith in tips & techniques (7 minute read)

Angela Monson, RDH, PhD
Department Chair of Dental Hygiene
Minnesota State University, Mankato

Angela, one of our newest customers, called in with a problem.

She’d started using Lucid to organize and run her meetings, and had her team log in too. She felt more organized, and was happy with the automated records she got afterwards, but she wasn’t getting the kind of engagement from the rest of the group she’d hoped for.

“Before Lucid, only one person reluctantly took notes, which did not engage the rest of the team.  I knew the Lucid notes would be more inclusive and accurate with the whole team participating. 

However I also knew the team would not want to participate right away.

I encouraged other people to take notes, but no one did. For those first meetings, it was still me doing all of the typing.”

Angela Monson

It was a problem. While she now had a way to make sure her meetings came with clearly documented results, they weren’t necessarily more enjoyable to attend when everyone else just watched her type.

She needed to get the rest of the group involved.

Read More...

Topics: tips & techniques

The Surprising Link Between Climate Change and Virtual Meetings

Dec 17, 2016 by Elise Keith in meeting design (20 minute read)

In November, I was pleased to be invited to present our advice for running successful virtual meetings to the Government of Alberta as part of their Greening Government Speaker Series.

The series goal is to stimulate interest, discussion and action to help governments reduce their carbon footprint and support a sustainable approach to operation. (Learn more about the series on the MCCAC website.)

While our team cares about climate change deeply and we work to do what we can, it would be more than a stretch to say this is an area we're typically asked to speak on.

So what prompted the invitation?

Read More...

Topics: meeting design

How often should you meet? Selecting the right meeting cadence for your team.

Dec 3, 2016 by Elise Keith in meeting design (30 minute read)

What is a meeting cadence and why does it matter?

In our post about why teams meet, I outlined two basic rules:

  1. Meet to maintain momentum.
  2. Meet to change course.

Kickoffs, retrospectives, emergency meetings, planning sessions, workshops, sales, negotiations - these all fall under the definition of “changing course”.

A team’s regularly scheduled meetings should maintain work momentum and strengthen the relationships between team members. The frequency of these regular meetings sets the team’s work cadence.

We use the term cadence here very deliberately. You may find others referring to this pattern of regular meetings as the team’s meeting rhythm.

If the words cadence and rhythm bring to mind pictures of rowers at the oar, you’ve got the right idea.

Read More...

Topics: meeting design

Meeting Execution: The Underlying Structure of Meetings that Work

Nov 14, 2016 by Elise Keith in meeting design (22 minute read)

Behind every effort to improve an organization’s meetings, you’ll find a larger initiative focused on increasing productivity and improving culture.

Organizations that run effective meetings as a matter of course do so because it improves the productivity and cohesion of teams as a whole, in a way that individual productivity improvements can’t match.

To maximize the productivity of a meeting, and of meetings in general, it helps to understand exactly what you expect meetings to produce.

Previously, we asserted that meetings should “quickly create shared perspective”.

Let’s unpack that one. What do you get from teams that have a shared perspective?

Read More...

Topics: meeting design

Why meet? Understanding the Function of Meetings in the Collaborative Workplace

Oct 18, 2016 by Elise Keith in meeting design (11 minute read)

When we work in collaboration with other people, we have two things we have to take care of to be successful.

The work and the people.

In theory, the work should be something we can plan and manage logically. After each piece of work begins, there are a series of tasks to complete and problems to solve that continue on until the work is done.

Also in theory, the people doing the work should be able to coordinate their efforts through a simple exchange of factual information. When Fred completes task A, he marks it done, and Betty starts task B. When Alan runs into a problem with the work, he could write down the facts of the situation and send them to others for help – help they could then offer in any number of ways that do not involve a team meeting.

Clean, efficient, and logical. When the work is well understood and routine, this approach makes sense. The people doing the work click along like a "well-oiled machine".

Read More...

Topics: meeting design

What’s New with Lucid Meetings: August 2016

Sep 27, 2016 by Elise Keith in release announcement (7 minute read)

One of the fabulous things about building online software is that it makes it possible to quickly make changes based on customer feedback. Here at Lucid, we strive to update the software each week with small changes and fixes, and to release at least one significant improvement every month or two.

We’re pretty good about announcing the fancy new features, but we haven’t been as consistent about sharing all those smaller features, updates, and bug fixes that our customers care about.

Let’s fix that, shall we?

Below you’ll find details and screenshots about things that changed for the better in Lucid Meetings over the past few months. Finally, at the end, we’ll share a bit about what we have in the works. For those of you who use Lucid (or who plan to), consider this an invitation to collaborate!

Read More...

Topics: release announcement

Creating A Foundation for Changing Your Organization’s Meetings

Sep 26, 2016 by Elise Keith in meeting design (6 minute read)

Many people are unhappy with how their meetings work. Some of these people try to improve their meetings.

Of those who try to improve their meetings, a few achieve dramatic results.
Sweeping, business-changing, revolutionary improvement.

Others make small gains. One or two meetings run better, but the rest never rise above mediocrity.

The great majority of those who work to improve their meetings experience a momentary burst of effectiveness, which slowly deteriorates. The status quo reasserts, and the energy to change dissipates.

Read More...

Topics: meeting design

5 Proven Techniques for Better Brainstorming

Aug 1, 2016 by Elise Keith in tips & techniques (9 minute read)

Meetings bring a group together to quickly discover answers and ideas that no one person can find by themselves.

Whether we’re working to negotiate the details of a new project, finding a way to tackle a challenging problem, or seeking to define our strategic vision, the pattern is the same; someone poses a question, and the group starts brainstorming answers.

Effective brainstorming is essential to nearly every type of business meeting.

Not everyone enjoys traditional brainstorming

Unfortunately, not all questions are created equally.

Sometimes the questions asked in a meeting don’t invite meaningful answers. Asking “Everyone good with that?” after dictating a decision isn’t an effective way to surface real concerns or get real commitments.

Some questions are too vague, making it unclear what kind of answer to give. Questions like “Do you have any feedback?” result in either polite non-replies (e.g., “Nope, I’m good.”) or long-winded side discussions that don’t necessarily get to the answers the group needs.

Getting great ideas from a group during a meeting can be hard, and for many participants, traditional brainstorming can feel like a painful waste of time.  

First, despite the popularity of brainstorming sessions, we have some evidence that meetings aren’t always the best place to birth new ideas. Ideal or not, however, sometimes a meeting is the only real opportunity we have to explore ideas as a group, so we’d better make it work.

Second, our brains all work differently.

Not everyone does their best thinking on-demand.

Not every group welcomes new ideas, creating a social imperative to keep any answers within a comfortable range of safe topics.

Some people don’t seem to understand the difference between a group meeting and a personal consultation, taking it upon themselves to dominate the meeting by answering all the questions first, loudly, and in great detail.

Read More...

Topics: tips & techniques

5 Meetings for Remarkable Leaders

May 16, 2016 by Elise Keith in leadership & facilitation, meeting design (7 minute read)

Remarkable leaders understand that how they design and lead meetings determines how well their group functions.

Why Leaders Need to Master Meetings 

Meetings serve a critical function in the workplace. The meeting's job is to lead a group from wherever they are individually to a new place where they can have a shared perspective.

We call this convergence; the merging of distinct perspectives into a unified whole. 

Teams that fail to converge around a shared perspective don't work. They hold different visions of what they should be doing. They work at cross-purposes. Decisions aren't clear, projects meander, and progress comes slowly or not at all.

It is the job of the meeting to give everyone a shared perspective on their work, and the job of the leader to make sure meetings succeed.

Read More...

Topics: leadership & facilitation, meeting design

The Anatomy of Meeting Notes That People Will Use

May 12, 2016 by Elise Keith in release announcement, tips & techniques (8 minute read)

(Tip: Be sure not to miss the downloadable business meeting notes template at the end of the story)

Return Leverage, one of Lucid’s Enterprise clients, found our downloadable meeting notes to be less helpful than they’d hoped. Toby Lucich from Return Leverage asked if we could improve the exports to help make it easier for busy professionals to read the meeting notes. We’re thrilled to have had the opportunity to learn from his experience and improve the exports.

Since we made these changes in collaboration with Return Leverage, we asked Toby if he’d be willing to share more about why this format works, and how his company uses it to drive meeting results with clients. Happily, he agreed.


Toby Explains Why Formatting Can’t Suck

Toby Lucich, Return Leverage Founder and CEO

As an entrepreneur and management consultant, I’ve now worked with hundreds of business leaders in organizations big and small, for-profit and non-profit, both founder-led and professionally managed. I’ve worked with organizational leaders at all levels that have been charismatic, visionary, thought-provoking, strategic, detail-oriented; some have also been distracted, impatient, disengaged, incompetent, or simply apathetic. Leaders come in all shapes and sizes.

The common challenges I’ve seen all leaders face are the overly-packed calendar, shifting expectations, soft commitments, impending deadlines, and never enough time to get it all done.

Regardless of the client or their culture, our first obligation is fundamentally about effective communication. We believe that every single client deserves our best effort to capture and communicate the most critical ideas and actions that will efficiently and effectively turn ideas into actions, and actions into successful business results.

How this information is presented is a critical first step.

A clean, easy-to-read format is a powerful first impression in shifting the value from meeting notes toward meeting agreements or records for your stakeholders. You never know which meeting is going to change the course of the company.

We’ve recently collaborated with Lucid to redesign the exported report. Here's some of the design thinking that went into the new format.

Read More...

Topics: release announcement, tips & techniques