Adopting an open meeting format

Get your meetings off the groundEveryone complains about meetings. Seems that they’re all useless.

But I have to imagine that there are some meetings that are valuable. Aren’t there? I mean, I get the chance to participate in some pretty productive meetings.

So I know they’re out there.

Toby and I were bemoaning this sad state of affairs when something struck me.

What if instead of scheduling meetings as a covert activity, it was an overt activity? What if scheduling meetings was like looking for events on Upcoming? What if all of your office cohorts and confidantes could follow what meetings you attended?

Well, it doesn’t matter, you say, because there aren’t open seats at most meetings.

But what if there were?

What if I could see when my boss, some other execs, and some of my peers were meeting? And then, what if I could choose to attend that meeting in one of the open seats?

So now, anyone can attend any meeting that seems interesting to them. Hmm. That would make for some pretty interesting meetings, I would think. I might just show up to see who the heck else actually made it.

So let’s take that concept a step further.

What if there were some structure that rewarded those who had the most well-attended and well-received meetings? What if there were some way to recognize that? What if you found someone who was always attending the best meetings?

Think about it. Could be interesting.

What’s keeping you from implementing it?

About Rick Turoczy

More than mildly obsessed with the Portland startup community. Founder and editor at Silicon Florist. Cofounder and general manager at PIE. Follow me on Twitter: @turoczy
This entry was posted in Career, Meetings, Whatif. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Adopting an open meeting format

  1. Shaun says:

    Hi Rick,

    An interesting idea.

    Wouldn’t these meetings become a haven for employees with nothing better to do, or worse, employees avoiding work?

    How do you avoid keeping the door of these meetings open to the people who don’t contribute?


  2. Rick Turoczy says:

    Good question.

    I, for one, don’t see “employees who have nothing to contribute” raising their visibility by attending meetings. In my experience, they tend to remain “below the RADAR.”

    (I wonder if I could use any more “quotational phrases” in this response.)

    But, that would be something I’d be willing to risk. And if it became a problem, then maybe that would be time to move to the next level: rating performance at meetings.

  3. Attending “open meetings” is something I have been practicing at all my jobs but have never come up with a name for it.

    If I had the time, I’d attend all the meetings that happen at my company. This is how you learn about what is going on with your business.

    When I was an intern at one of the largest internet companies in America, and my desk was literally in the conference room, I got to attend all the meetings whether I wanted to or not.

    And you know what? I learned a lot about what was going on in the company and in the industry just by passively listening.

    It never hurts to have too much information and by being “in-the-know” about the issues your company is facing, it puts you at an advantage because you’ll be better able to focus your efforts on fixing those issues instead of getting bogged down in the details of your everyday work.

  4. Gary Walter says:

    I like the idea! If employees attend who have nothing better to do, that isn’t the meeting planner’s problem, that is a problem of that person’s superior (re: accountability, responsibility, and authority issues).

    The thing that has ticked me off the most are “required” meetings and training where the chair/presenter didn’t put enough effort into making the meeting/training interesting and attractive (e.g. “It’s required, so they’ll be there no matter what.”)

    In the format you’re suggesting Rick, the chair/facilitator/presenter would have to take more ownership of making it an interesting meeting. Down the road, word would get out as to who had the best meetings/training and who you would want to avoid.

    Hey, this might even create a new sub-specialty of meeting facilitators and those without that talent would quit trying to bore people into an early grave.


  5. Juice says:

    I like the idea and would dig it. Especially in smaller companies where everyone is working on everything in the house.
    Trouble I might have is that I am usually busy during the work day. I miss date night with the wife sometimes as it is. I wouldn’t be able to make it to most meetings, even If I wanted to.
    Although, I think we will all be expected to attend all meetings soon. Working, traveling, whatever, with the the entire meeting coming to our ear through the latest Apple technology. Imeeting or something.
    Knowledge is drugs though. Get that, then you get the money, then you get the girls, then the power…how does that go?

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