Grassland with sorrel (Rumex acetosa), an ‘ordinary’ flowing plant in the Northern hemisphere.

More than bullet points

There is nothing wrong with bullet points. Writing down some ideas could even be a good starting place to get ready for a meeting.

I do this sometimes. I remember quite some bullet points when I think about the many meetings, we had for the preparation of the Liberating Structures immersion workshop which ended on June 3 and was an exciting journey with an amazing group of people. In our design team with Ewen Le Borgne and Ruben Klerkx we took care of a collection of bullet points. These items did not guide us through our meetings; sometimes we had a look at them only at the end of the meeting to double check.

We followed a different logic and energy. We started our design meetings with a check-in: sometimes we did a simple round of ‘How are you?’ Other times we used one of the structures or did something playful and experimental. Our first exchanges always also circled around the purpose of our working time together. If we had different intentions in mind, which rarely happened, we quickly came to a joint agreement what this meeting was about. The three of us were aware about the time we have at our disposal. There was space for surprise. When we felt stuck one of us came up with an idea. For example, let’s use some Mad Tea prompts or it’s time for a moment of silent reflection with a Spiral Journal. We co-created and co-facilitated our meetings.

So, ordinary meetings need more than bullet points. I would say it is about having the right attitude and developing some process skills.

  • The purpose is driving and guiding the meeting. Knowing why we meet, making the purpose and intention visible and shared by stating it loud and clearly and by clarifying it further where necessary.
  • Content alone is not everything. Great meetings are about people, about us, you and me, and our collaboration. The restrictions of the pandemic made this clear. People working from home started to miss ordinary meetings, the opportunity to meet, to connect, to exchange and work together. Meetings are always also relational. Relationships are the basis of good collaboration.
  • How we are together matters: Caring jointly to create the right atmosphere allows us as a team to work together, to open up and speak our mind. Check-ins and check-outs are no luxury and help us in this process.
  • With our shared awareness of our valuable, meeting, thinking and working time we can use it wisely (and certainly not for information sharing).
  • We organise ourselves and co-lead and co-facilitate the process.
  • The choice of creative and practical methods as Liberating Structures support our collaboration.
  • Every now and then we take a ‘helicopter view’, go on ‘the balcony’ of our very own collaboration and see our meeting from the meta-level: Are we fine? Does this serve us and our collaboration?

It is all about process mindfulness

Paying attention to the way how we collaborate is process mindfulness. There are different layers to good collaboration expressed in the bullet points above. Process mindfulness connects the why, who and what. My network partner and friend Ewen Le Borgne calls it the process muscles. In his “crusade to develop everyone’s capacity to use the power of ‘process’ to communicate, collaborate and achieve amazing things together” Ewen blogs frequently about it. In his latest blog post he invites a look at the backstage. He has some valuable tips, have a look here.

With some process mindfulness, meetings can fly.

This blog post is part II of a series on how to fall in love with your ordinary meetings:

Upcoming workshops

If you want to learn more, you can always join:

Bringing your Meetings & Workshops Online. Confident, Creative & Convincing!
A series of live online workshops on how to unleash the power of engagement and collaboration in the virtual world. In collaboration with cinfo
5 weekly highly interactive workshops. August 30  – September 28, 2021 on Zoom!
Don’t miss the attractive Early Bird offered till 30st of June!
>> info & registration here <<<