Steve Davis makes a great point:
Given that in any given group there are, on average, eight times more participants than there are meeting leaders, targeting meeting leaders alone in our efforts to improve meetings may be missing the mark.
I’ve been thinking on similar lines; it’s quite tempting to write stuff about faciliation to guide the “leader”… but maybe it would be more powerful to write for the participants. Steve, in fact, goes ahead and does this, suggesting 12 Acts of Courage to Change Meetings for Good. This is good food for thought, especially as Viv and I have been working on a draft on similar lines.
I especially agree with this thought:
People underestimate the complexity of group thought.
Yes, indeed. And almost every effort to explore it risks falling into the trap of oversimplifying (including, arguably, lists of steps!). A lot of frustration in meetings seems to arise when people think they understand what is happening, or what should be, and then announce it to the group as if it’s obvious… only to discover that not everyone thinks the same way.
Hat tip: Dwight Towers sent me an email that prompted this post.