Meetings that matter
How our meetings build relationship and get work done
Here’s a summary of our approach to participatory meetings. They apply to small or large meetings, short or long, and online, in person or hybrid meetings. As always, it is context dependant!
Participatory meeting principles
People choose to come
Anyone can call a meeting
Meetings are fit for purpose
Find the simplest structure for good flow and getting things done
Rotate roles - building capacity
Be flexible - respond to changing contexts
Be prepared. It shows up in the quality of the meeting - for all participants
Take care of people
Participatory meeting practices
Even if we have an hour, we take the time to build our relationship a little more
Sit in circle - a leader in every chair
Use a talking piece. We wait until someone has finished before the next person begins speaking
Co-create the agenda - what matters most now?
Welcome and frame well - speaking the purpose
Check in and check out - bookending the meeting
Roles: Host, harvest (notes), guardian (time, energy)
Set meeting rhythms - what kind of meeting, when
Develop principles together
Only include items relevant for all or most
Make sure everyone has what they need (resources & breaks)
Record what’s necessary and feed forward
Before the meeting
Clarity of purpose, outcomes, people, and appropriate flow / structure
Invite well - being clear about purpose, timing
Clear roles, who is doing what?
This applies to virtual, in person or hybrid meetings
Become present together - we take time to ground, presence, and transition from what came before. Many people say they are grateful for the chance to pause.
Acknowledge Country - We acknowledge the traditional custodians of the lands on which we work, and live, and the deep care for country, community and culture that we are learning from. This is beyond lip service, it is an important part of our practice.
Framing - speaking the clear purpose of the meeting
Check in - hear all voices. What powerful question can you ask to bring people’s voices into the room and bring focus to the purpose of the meeting? Make it appropriate to the meeting.
If it’s a regular meeting, review next steps from the previous meeting - make them visible, speak in only what’s important.
Burning issues - We co-create the agenda and priorities - using the principles of open space - whatever is most important will be raised by one of us, and addressed. It works, every time.
Be clear about what your item is…
For information Share / announce - consider whether this needs to be brought here, and what could be shared using other communication channels. Invitation - spoken, a chance to practice warm invitation
For conversation Engage and seek feedback. Work together / co-create
For decision Clear proposal - be clear on your decision making process
Next steps - We are clear about next steps, each speaking in our own. Making commitments of who will do what by when
Check out - close the meeting well. A question to help people leave well, and to give feedback on how the meeting went for everyone. Can be brief, and a moment of acknowledgement and pause.
After the meeting
Make meeting notes visible to those who need to know
Everyone takes responsibility for their own next steps / actions
Get in touch if you want to know more, or learn how to transform your meeting practices.
The Circle Way - a deep practice for holding meetings of all types
The Art of Hosting Conversations that Matter (aka: the Art of Participatory Leadership)
Groundwork - practice for powerful collaboration
Going Horizontal - practices for shared leadership