The Twitterverse and Meetings

People on Twitter have a special relationship with meetings.

Call it… unusual.

Maybe a little weird.

We sense a lot of love, a lot of hate, and a lot of… well, we’re not really sure.

So here you go internet, here’s our contribution to the state of meetings in the Twitterverse: a curated list of the most interesting, crazy, silly, shocking tweets we could dig up on business meetings.

Enjoy.

My sense is that meetings in the Republic are pretty structured. Poor Vader.

These are our kind of meetings. No mention of agendas though…

Disappointing because we never got an invite.

Hard to beat this meeting location. How does one take notes or action items?

What is it with Darth Vader and meetings? I can see him being an awesome board chair.

Has anyone tried the yoga meeting yet? Did it work?

Whoever holds this cup is permitted to speak in the meeting.

The good thing about office cats is that they can be assigned all the action items!

This meeting watch is actually pretty cool. Would love to know where its from.

This literally made me laugh out loud – a CIA field guide for subverting meetings. Wow.

Checked that off our list of office must-haves.

If only this weren’t true. *Sigh*

What we’ve learned about meetings working on Trackmeet for 4 years

After working on software for business meetings for 4 years now, we’ve learned a thing or two about them.

They’re funny.

Unique.

An interesting interplay of technology and personalities.

No two are the same, yet they share a lot of commonalities.

We thought we’d bring together some of the insights we’ve made watching hundreds (thousands?) of meetings and talking to hundreds of people about them.

1. Skills trump tools

There’s a reason master craftsmen can turn a piece of stone into a work of art.

They are, after all, Master. Craftsmen.

They’ve practiced their skill for years, maybe decades, and have honed their mind and body into sculpting machines, rivaled by few. Tools in their hands are like extensions of themselves – they serve to augment and enhance an already highly refined process.

In the same way, the best meeting organizers have practiced and honed their skills over years, if not decades. They are experts at agenda creation and have a keen sense for what can be achieved by a group in a given amount of time. Like a mini-CEO, they have a strong vision for what meeting outcome they want, and assemble people, resources and information to achieve it. They see potential roadblocks and plan around them before they materialize. They are excellent people managers, and call on all members of the group to solve vexing issues. They see technology as an aid. They understand how organizations work, and bring out the best in their colleagues.

Just like the master crafter, gifted meeting organizers use meeting tools (like Trackmeet, OneNote, GoToMeeting, video conferencing, etc.) to further their agenda, not for the sake of using the latest trend or what an organization dictates.

2. Awesome meeting culture starts at the top

How do you identify organizations with the best meetings?

Simple.

Find an org chart and let your gaze wander to the top. If members of the management team are all-star meeting organizers, there’s a good chance the rest of the organization will be too. All that meeting prowess filters down through an organization from the top.

Looking to change meeting habits of your organization? Train the trainers. Invest in ongoing coaching and technology adoption that starts with your management team, and specifically, your CEO. Habits that the CEO and senior managers demonstrate represent the kind of (meeting) behavior that is expected, and mirrored, in your organization.

Does your management team take well formatted notes at meetings? Do they leave enough time between meetings to regroup and prepare? Do they follow up on action items? Do they create agendas? Do they let others speak and share their ideas?

You can achieve outsized investment returns by ensuring your management team is doing meetings right. Invest in training and coaching here so everyone leads by example.

3. Measure meeting performance

We’ve come across a handful of organizations that measure and reward meeting skills. As in, their performance evaluations measure their ability to run effective meetings.

We spoke with teams from Sutter Health and Codan, and found out that they perform a 360 review around meeting skills for their colleagues. This blends into a score that finds its way into their performance review and, ultimately, compensation!

Overkill?

Maybe.

But remember the old leadership adage to “Inspect what you expect” and “You can’t manage what you don’t measure”? If your expectations are for awesome meetings, you better be measuring your expected behavior. Somehow.

By simply adding an area or even a line item  within your performance management process, you can shine a little (or big) spotlight on meeting management.

What else are we missing? What are some interesting insights you’ve made into meeting culture across your career?

Running a Strata

I (this is Darin!) recently (Jan 2016) stepped into the role of president for the strata that oversees our neighborhood (for everyone outside of BC, think Condo or Homeowner Association).

–>  Copperfield Village (website is dated but functional!)

Our previous president, Cindy, had done a great job keeping 50 homeowners satisfied over the course of several years.  She’d grown tired of the role, and opted to let new leadership come on, which included myself, and several other new board positions.

balancing-plates

I had been leery of committing to the role for some time – when previously nominated, I had politely refused.  Juggling a startup, kids + marriage, cub scouts, coaching baseball and strata is a bit too much I thought.  I value my sanity.

But… I really, sincerely wanted to push Trackmeet forward.  I felt strongly that it could ultimately help our neighborhood AND we could iterate the software with the council’s help.  So, after chatting to Tonya (my wife and primary support network!), we decided it was worth the additional time commitment.

And so here I am.

Look for updates on this soon.  While staying this side of sane.

Introducing our blog

This is the first post of what we hope will be many such musings from the Trackmeet team over the coming years.

Why read YAB? (yet another blog)

We’re setting lofty expectations around what gets said here.  As an extension of our team’s thoughts, perspectives and vision, our goal is to give you, the reader, a sense for our culture and where we’re going.

Sure, we’ll cover off feature and product announcements, but we see this as an opportunity to make our mark on the world.  So… expect opinions.  And maybe a different perspective.  At the very minimum, we hope you come away having learned something new.

Hope to see you again soon.