The Meeting Book: Meetings that Achieve and Deliver (Concise Advice Lab)
Do you conduct meetings with intent or purpose? Do you get the sigh remarks, rolling eyes, and one deep breathe with the words “another meeting?” exhaled?
Author Helen Chapman provides a different perspective for how meetings should be conducted: by shifting your mindset and outlook of meetings.
She uses the kaleidoscope as a visual metaphor for twisting and refocusing to give the visual representation a new perspective. And this is how to view meetings.
Like the kaleidoscope, if you twist to refocus your view from a different angle, it will give you a different and a new perspective, thus potentially changing your perception.
Chapman quickly gets to the point that in order to do so effectively, the reader needs to decide to be aware of and be willing to alter consciousness. In other words, being consciously aware of changing the way of communication to meet priorities with the intent and focus of having actual conversations that are efficient, purposeful, and have an outcome. Don’t just meet for the sake of meeting.
To do this, she walks us through a consciousness of what behaviors and attitudes toward your meetings need to be adjusted. Then when crafting the creative flow for that meeting, think about the purpose, the big goals, and the people involved.
The people involved is what is going to cause an altered state of consciousness. Chapman explains that because you need to think about the dynamics, engage your members by asking questions and being aware that each person coming to the meeting has his or her own unique perspective.
While the author thoroughly explains the consciousness the meeting conductor needs to have, the book does not dive deeply into how to get meeting attendees to express and reveal their own unique perspective, their own reality. The book talks about how to engage attendees into the conversation by being genuinely interested with the intent of serving the conversation, but not how they can open up about their own agenda.
Chapman continues with what consciousness we need to have by paying attention to labeling and creating assumptions. The author helps us be more consciously aware if we are engaging in labeling and what to do to overcome it.
The author uses metaphors throughout the book: “Just as a dancer feels the rhythm in a piece of music, you can learn to dance with style in meetings. By all means have your planned choreography (a known set of moves), but ensure you are free in the moment to respond to unexpected beats and bars, with responsive twists and turns.”
Chapman is straight to the point and consistently reminds us to keep it short and simple, and offers good suggestions for maintaining clarity. She also offers a variety of meeting styles to pick from and recommends mixing them up.