The d.school team gathers on Monday for what we call the Monday Morning Meeting or "MMM" (it's pretty delicious). The purpose of the meeting is to catch up on what happened the week before, what's slated to happen during the current week and a look ahead to the next week.
Lately, we've been exploring ways to breathe new life into the meeting.
People have a lot on their plate, so it's often difficult for them to gear up for yet one more meeting, especially during some of the most productive hours of the day -- if not the entire week. Monday morning is that time to drill through the e-mail backlog of the weekend, and yes, plan for the future meetings of the week. It's precious time to re-set your head and plan your week.
But that also makes it an ideal time to come together and make sure that the decisions you make about your activities for the day and the week are contextualized well within the larger organism. So, how do you make the pill (time commitment) go down more easily?
If your answer is empathy, then you're on to something.
We recently had an exercise in our weekly meeting conducted by our Course Production Lead Tania Anaissie to help everyone warm up for the MMM. The exercise was pretty simple and in service to two goals: to check in quickly on how everyone was feeling and to up the energy in the room in an empathetic way. Here's how it goes:
Exercise #1: Expression check-in: Everyone stands in a circle. One person starts the activity by making an expression or some form of movement accompanied by a noise, conveying to the group how they are feeling. Once they are done, everyone around the circle repeats their action. Think: Simon Says ... without Simon having to say it. A variation on this is to have everyone in the room sketch how they are feeling and show it to the group.
Simple, right? Well, sometimes the least complicated activities are the most rewarding. I felt incredibly well informed as to where everyone was in the lead-up to the meat-and-potatoes of the meeting. I was also better attuned as to where I fell on the community spectrum. The best part was that I also felt heard.
I asked Tania a few days after the meeting what prompted her to try the exercise with the group. She said it was mostly because she wanted an outlet of her own in the meeting.
During our conversation, she mentioned another exercise she had engaged in during a separate meeting -- one she happened to find at least partially effective. Here it is:
Exercise #2: How long should this meeting take? - This one is equally simple: you start the meeting off asking everyone in the room how long they think the meeting should take. The people who have an hour will know to prioritize what they need to convey to others who may be under a more strict time crunch.
This struck me as one of those obvious habits to incorporate into meetings. I am still shocked I have attending so many meetings where no one has asked this.
So, what do you do to draw people to your meetings, give them a strong start and keep them going smoothly to the end? Let us know in the comments.