I enjoyed listening to Josef Allen, a meeting scientist, in conversation with Myriam Hadnes in the podcast “From offline to online to hybrid meetings”. He shares some interesting findings about why meetings get stuck. 

Bad meetings lead to more bad meetings. Joseph Allen calls it the cascading effect or the “epidemic of meetings”.  This meeting overload may be caused (among others) by old habits.

In the podcast conversation, you will find more inspiration if you feel stuck in meeting marathons.

In this post, I want to offer some reflections on the challenge of changing meeting habits that no longer positively serve collaboration. 

Habits get in the way

“When one falls into a certain pattern of having meetings, one can easily fall back into them.”

Joseph Allen 

The diagnosis of Joseph Allen comes as no surprise. Old habits get in the way of renewal because habits are sticky. When adopting new habits, there is always the risk to fall back, snapping back, to the known and familiar way.

Seeing and acknowledging old patterns is important. Or as Joseph Allen puts it: “Without diagnosis no solutions are possible.”

Breaking old habits is rewarding, refreshing, and fun. Dare to try. Find more inspiration on how to do so here: Stopping old meeting habits. How an eager team is having fun with Liberating Structures

You break meeting habits together

Team feedback sessions provide a unique opportunity to address meeting habits. A joint diagnosis will already boost your team’s energy. Talking about what you notice about how your meetings go will help you identify trigger points for making things different.

You can find inspiration in the ‘Facilitators Unplugged’ series I had with my facilitation friend Ewen Le Borgne about Collective Feedback: How to train your feedback practice: Involve your team!

Through honest diagnosis and collective feedback, a team can create a positive dynamic and find refreshed energy. Building new habits requires patience, perseverance, and generosity. There are so many ways and twists, to experiment, and to reflect and learn. So, you might want to go step by step, meeting by meeting, Joseph Allen advises, to “make meetings a little bit better”. 

Listen to the podcast. Joseph Allen has some great ideas for curiosity and innovation in the online, face-to-face, and hybrid world. 

I look forward to seeing you as a reader in my next blog entry.

Enjoy your learning moment,


PS. For upcoming learning opportunities check: https://linktr.ee/nadiavonholzen