You may have read my post on the cost of meetings. And while I feel most of them that we have to endure are useless, it is worth considering what a good meeting likes and feels like.
So in order to draw an analogy that we can all relate to, I thought I’d go for the idea behind the title of this blog post:
What meetings can learn from Parties.
Firstly the anticipation. When a we get an invite to a good party it is exciting. We start to look forward to it, plan it in our minds and think about some of the cool stuff that might happen. We think about who is going to be there and why the location sounds exciting, which could be on a boat in the harbour or just in your good friend Joey’s garage. We think about the atmosphere, and the music and actually do an ‘imagined version’ of the party in our heads. We plan for it and start to get prepared.
If it’s a party we are looking forward to we prepare for it. I mean, we want to ensure we bring stuff that makes the party better and makes the host know we appreciate the effort they are going to in order to make this thing happen. We know all good parties are an exchange where we all need to bring something. And we want the kudos that goes with making the party better.
If we are having a party the location matters. We decorate and move the furniture around. At good parties there is lots to look at, plenty of good food and people stand up, not sit down. We try and have as many conversations as we can, and meet some new people, maybe even form new long term relationships.
There is often a crescendo at a good party, a seminal speech or story that everyone enjoys. The moment that reminds us why we are all here, that salient moment. And then after it, the next day or the next week the party is talked about. Usually about how much fun it was, or why it sucked. We hope for the former. And if we are planning a party of our own, we want to learn from this one and even try and make ours a little better.
While we can’t do all of these things for meetings, the question is what things can we replicate from the party ethic? In the end we should try and make every meeting just a little bit less like a school assembly and just a little bit more like a party.