Hit-or-Miss Meetings Needn’t Be

by Caruba

Even though technology is the life-blood of Silicon Valley, technology is not the answer to failures in business meetings. Are you squeamish when preparing for a  meeting? Are you already a victim of the technology fad? In my blog series, you will get rationales for this plus other eye-openers:

  • Background: How to overcome today’s meetings shortcomings–today.
  • PERT & communication keys–tomorrow’s take-away.
  • No: everybody can’t create competent meetings–it ain’t automatic.
  • Teamwork is task-dependent, not exhortation-prone.
  • Useful audio/visuals demand more than pretty pictures.
  • Hotels and airlines–maybe; depending on message.

Background

Creating competent meetings that achieve their objectives is complex. Meeting-callers must observe and honor applicable research and field-findings in education and group communication. Only when working with research or otherwise-proved methodology can meetings-callers conduct meetings that have a right to succeed! The recommended ideas and methods have been developed and perfected with groups of all sizes, from small-groups (psychology: 5-7) to school-room-30 size to hundreds to thousands. They work!

Tips and tricks do contribute to ‘better meetings.’ ‘Better’ is not necessarily ‘competent.’ Tips are cut-and-paste. Most work but won’t enrich your overall know-how and capabilities. It’s wiser (no matter at what level you need to address and work with people) to learn underlying concepts and caveats.

This blog accords with an old adage: “Give a man a fish; he’ll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish; he’ll eat for a lifetime.”

My Goal: Improve your own and your company’s overall competence in Meetings Management … and management control of all materials prepared for in-house use, customers, and sponsored sessions for outside interests.

Critical differences: Meetings Management deals with the communications aspect of the meetings–the message, its practice, and protection. Meeting-planning has received most industry-press attention but concerns itself essentially with logistics and other advertised elements. These are two very different disciplines. Logistics are important if/when needed but are always of less import than the message. Perfectly-produced meetings can fail to communicate messages–the reason they were called. That’s a ‘failed meeting.’

Take care when considering industry blandishments. Except knowhow, nothing can solve every meeting problem, no matter how much you pay! Knowhow’s inexpensive but requires work. People take on extra work only when dissatisfied with current circumstances … our task today with you.

Amazingly, an excellent source of information is the clinical research and US military findings from WWII. Most exists in palatable form but is rarely seen in business magazines. Much applicable research reported by related professionals was reported in their professional journals and books (see our ‘Granddaddy’ article’s bibliography, in 1970; our web). Those books/journals are not general reading for meetings-callers–but should be.

There’s no independent or professional journal in the meetings field … partly because corporate management has usually believed that ‘anybody can do it’– and so have declined to pay for unbiased information. We all can do without the many problems bought with those savings. Publications that honor legitimate meetings requirements and established research deserve the intellectual and cash support of thinking-persons and fact-starved user-companies.

To learn more, visit www.meetingsCavalier.com, click the ‘Business Writing’ button and read the first ‘Final Thoughts’ segment on the ‘Titles’ page, at the asterisk below the “ISD” book, ‘Looking at Today’s Realities.’ Sufficient dissatisfier?  Scary enough? Like scary? A dozen more pages to ‘Final Thoughts.’

For key early research bibliography, see ‘Granddaddy article.’ For bullets re: early military research, see “FirstTake” magazine, on ‘Recognition’ button, p13. “Granddaddy” was frozen in time in 1970. For a superior bibliography of later work in brain/learning/reasoning research (1970s to ’90s publication date), see a book at once the most difficult and insightful that I’ve ever seen in this field: “Descartes’ Error,” by Antonio R. Damasio (NYC: Grosset/Putnam; 1994.)

Tune in for more tomorrow where I discuss using PERT to design and run meetings!

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