Meetings selection chart

“It is a strange quality of the human psyche how, if the most familiar tool in your kitbag is a hammer, all the problems come to resemble nails.”  SU
So, there is a decision to be made, and it will involve a number of inputs from a range of different people, all of whom will want to be part of that decision. Can you get a picture of that happening, right now in your mind? What do you see?

If you see a meeting room, with a lot of people in it, you are not unusual. If not a meeting room, did you see a web-based meeting? Or was it something else which involved people being available all at the same time?
One of the reasons that there are so many meetings is that for many people it is not only the first thing they think of, it is also the only thing they think of. For many people, they have little knowledge of the wealth of available alternatives, and have not yet built up any real confidence or understanding of them – so meetings provide the obvious solution.
But the tools available for gathering inputs, and reviewing them to reach a decision now extends way beyond meetings (or at least beyond synchronous meetings which is normally where our paradigm holds us).
Part of the issue is about familiarity. Not just our familiarity with the tool, but also the familiarity of those we are seeking to engage in the discussion.
This lack of familiarity creates a resistance against the tool and can lead to poor participation in it, which then leads to a poor result. It is a sort of catch 22 – we don’t use the tools because they are unfamiliar, and the tools are unfamiliar because we don’t use them. So how can we fix this?
The first step is that you will at least need to become aquainted with such tools yourself, if you are not already. You can find a small selections of tools you can try out here: Tricider, Trello and other online tools for collaboration.
Once you understand more about what is available and how they work, you should be able to identify some small step that you could use one of these tools for.
Our recommendation is that you start small, and do it initially within a synchronous meeting (physical or web-based) so that people can see how to do it, and can have any concerns addressed immediately.
Then, as people gain confidence in how the tool works, you can use it as part of the preparation for subsequent meetings, and allow time for picking up any issues in the next meeting.
If you continue this way, you will build confidence across a wider set of tools, and will eventually be able to delegate some of the actions from the physical meetings to these other means of collaboration, and thereby save time in your main meetings.
To help you think further about the sorts of meeting activity that can be best delegated to asynchronous tools, take a look at the article on Tag and Tackle Meetings

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