Friday, September 14, 2007

Friday 5: Meetings, Meetings

Today's Friday Five is brought by Reverendmother on the subject of meetings, inspired no doubt by the reality of life in the PCUSA.

1. What's your view of meetings? Choose one or more, or make up your own:
a) When they're good, they're good. I love the feeling of people working well together on a common goal.
b) I don't seek them out, but I recognize them as a necessary part of life.
c) The only good meeting is a canceled meeting.

Meetings are only as good as the preparation that preceded them. When the meeting leader distributes the agenda and written reports in advance and most of those attending the meeting have reviewed them, you can have an efficient and productive meeting and avoid needless conflicts.

Verily, verily I say unto you that failure to do this is the reason most people hate meetings.

Here's El Jefe's pithy advice: Never serve up a "jump ball" to the session. (A "jump ball" means that you introduce an issue for discussion without preparation or advance notice.)

2. Do you like some amount of community building or conversation, or are you all business?

It depends on the amount of business that must be addressed in the length of time people have set aside for the meeting. It just drives me crazy to have a meeting run over 30 minutes for a devotion, community building etc.. and then have people leave the meeting just as you are discussing and voting on the critical issue you gathered for. On the other hand, if the agenda permits, I think it is helpful to spend some time on community building. But if there is no reason for the committee to meet other than to receive written reports, I cancel the meeting and give everyone a day off because the purpose of the meeting is to do business.

3. How do you feel about leading meetings? Share any particular strengths or weaknesses you have in this area.

I'm very comfortable leading meetings. Obviously. Miss ENTJ here, remember? Have gavel, will travel. And I do practice what I preached in the above answer.

4. Have you ever participated in a virtual meeting? (conference call, IM, chat, etc.) What do you think of this format?

I've been in all these forms of virtual meeting. Conference callsare by far the most effective and efficient alternative to a face-to-face meeting. Chat can work but is tiring and time-consuming.

5. Share a story of a memorable meeting you attended.

The bad meetings I have attended shared the same characteristic--a jump ball was served up to the session or the committee and confusion, conflict, and chaos ensued.


reverendmother said...

Your number 1 was Right On the Money. In fact, all of your answers were spot on. Can we clone QG and create a fleet of sensible meeting moderators?

Presbyterian Gal said...

As a fellow ENTJ I must applaud every one of your comments! Though I have not had to lead a meeting in more than a decade, I have found meetings that I have attended that are not prepared tend to end up moving toward whoever talks loudest, more informed and wittiest. Usually not the moderator.

Purechristianithink said...

Love the "jump ball" image.

Hot Cup Lutheran said...

yes i agree on the jump balls and am thinking how true how true how true... i guess i'd tend to serve spikes rather than jump balls but no good either way...