The RGBP Friday Five from ReverendMother… We’re talking meetings!
1. What's your view of meetings? Choose one or more, or make up your own:
a) When they're good, they're good. I love the feeling of people working well together on a common goal.
I have to admit, I do like a good meeting. I like to work with others, hear other points of view, hear what other people are doing in their jobs/agencies/committees, figure out how we can work together to meet a common goal, and get ideas from other people on new ways of solving problems or doing things.
2. Do you like some amount of community building or conversation, or are you all business?
I do like a few minutes of “checking in,” if no other reason than if someone is having a crisis or even just a bad day, it’s going to impede the group. But more importantly, I really do view groups as organic, and we’re only as strong as we are together. We have to support each other, and that includes where we are in our heads.
3. How do you feel about leading meetings? Share any particular strengths or weaknesses you have in this area.
I don’t mind it. I’m good at making sure everyone is heard, and I follow an agenda religiously (hah!). But, while I’m usually goal-oriented, I can be distracted fairly easily if the distracting topic is interesting to me—whether to not it’s related to the meeting at hand… I’ve been known to take over when the putative meeting leader was being pusillanimous. But I try not to do that. It's very rude, unless of course I’m asked….
4. Have you ever participated in a virtual meeting? (conference call, IM, chat, etc.) What do you think of this format?
I’ve done conference calls and chat sessions. I think the conference call tends to work better, at least if you’re familiar with everyone’s voice. For chat meetings, you want to be sure everyone is comfortable and familiar with chat.
Both are great ways to communicate with people who are far away and have meaningful conversations; not always easy to actually get business-type stuff done, but for discussions and reporting on progress, that sort of thing, they work great.
5. Share a story of a memorable meeting you attended.
Oh dear, where do I start with the bad memories? Just one, then. There was the meeting of the company that my company was subcontracting for; the owner insisted on the subcontractors attending the “company holiday meeting” and handed out bonuses to her staff, announcing that of course we weren’t eligible for any.
There were good ones too—when all the sides of a question were explored and discussed, and a decision was made through a process of negotiation that resulted in everyone’s happiness and a successful event.
Bonus! Pet peeve about meetings: when people don’t follow the agenda. I don’t mean in a slavish, Robert’s Rules of Order fashion. I mean asking a question about an item that has already been discussed, or jumping ahead to something that is on the agenda, but later. Or bringing something up in the middle of the meeting that isn’t on the agenda at all! And then the meeting leaders that let people get away with that, when all that is needed is “That’s a good question, Bob, and I think we’ll cover it under the discussion of the picnic in a little bit. Let’s finish our discussion of the music director’s contract, and we’ll get to the picnic in a bit.”