The Non-Obvious Guide to Magical Meetings (Reinvent How Your Team Works Together)

The Non-Obvious Guide to Magical Meetings (Reinvent How Your Team Works Together)

by Douglas Ferguson, John Fitch
The Non-Obvious Guide to Magical Meetings (Reinvent How Your Team Works Together)

The Non-Obvious Guide to Magical Meetings (Reinvent How Your Team Works Together)

by Douglas Ferguson, John Fitch


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An unusual and irreverent guide to transforming your meetings from time-sucking interruptions to productive moments of collaboration – whether your team is together or virtual.

What if meetings could be the high point of collaboration in your day, instead of the usual time-sucking soul-draining experience they often become?

In this guide, expert facilitators Douglas Ferguson and John Fitch tackle the myth that the most effective way to get more out of meetings is to just avoid having them or to have less of them. In a well-run organization, meetings should actually be integral to getting sh*t done.

Meetings are the secret underappreciated weapon that businesses are using badly. And why do they use them so badly? Because no one has been taught how to make them better. In this guide, you will learn:

  • What if having an agenda has no effect on whether you have a great meeting?
  • What happens when you actually do the work in the meeting?
  • What are the five common elements of every meeting that sucks, and how do you avoid them?

Douglas and John show you how to adopt and adapt the non-obvious Meeting Mantras they developed at their company, Voltage Control. Their methods have helped companies and teams transform the perception of meetings from “going to the dentist” (ie – something you have to do but hate) into something you can’t wait for – like a rock concert or great dinner.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781646870264
Publisher: Ideapress Publishing
Publication date: 04/20/2021
Series: Non-Obvious Guides
Pages: 189
Product dimensions: 5.25(w) x 7.50(h) x (d)

About the Author

Douglas Ferguson and John Fitch are the curators of the global meeting community Control the Room and co-authors of How to Remix Anything. Douglas’ books Beyond The Prototype and Start Within help individuals and companies navigate the treacherous territory between good ideas and tangible outcomes. John wrote Time Off to help people design their rest ethic and avoid burnout. They have been guiding companies and individuals to dig deeper into their potential for over 20 years.

Table of Contents

Introduction v

Part 1 Before Your Meetings

Chapter 1 A Preparation Guide for Magical Meetings 01

Wait, Do We Actually Need a Meeting?

Let's Cancel in Person but Meet Virtually

Double Preparations When You Workshop Virtually

Create Meeting Safety with Context and Rules

Invite Others Who Can See What You Can't

Being a Meeting-Room Architect

Center the Purpose of Your Meeting with 9 Whys

Chapter 2 Why Most Meeting Agendas Suck 17

Start with the Why and What

Crowdsourcing Objectives: Co-creating a new agenda

Get Ahead of It: Understanding the meeting before the meeting

Timing a Meeting: When to meet and for how long

How to Stay on Time Without Being a Timeline Dictator

The Magical Beauty of Intentional Breaks

Five Ways to Create More "Flow" in Your Next Meeting

The Art of Debriefing: Focus on the Last Five Minutes

Rethink Your Old Habits and Lazy Rituals

Why Deadlines Are So Important-and How o Use Them

Chapter 3 How to Pick the Right Structure for Your Meeting 39

The Right Meeting Structure for Generating Ideas

The Right Meeting Structure for Creating Alignment

The Right Meeting Structure for Strategizing and Making Things Happen

The Right Meeting Structure for More Connection with Your Participants

Buffer Time: How to Prevent Stragglers

How to Effectively Use Time Constraints for Better Ideas

Make Your Meetings Optional

Part 2 During Your Meeting

Chapter 4 How to Do the Work in the Meeting (Not After) 57

Prototypes, Not Action Items-. Weathering the Sticky-Note Storm

Balancing Personalities: Groupthink and working alone together

Participatory Decision-Making

Room Intelligence: Nobody is as smart as Everybody

Capture Room Intelligence

Competing Creativity

Chapter 5 How to Facilitate a Magical Meeting 73

How to Handle Difficult Meeting Participants with Grace

Three Ways Jedi Facilitators Get Meetings Back on Track

How to Sense the Room Dynamic

How To Facilitate a Group Larger Than Seven People

How To Unlock the Child's Mind in Your Participants

Great Facilitators Don't Need All the Answers

Chapter 6 Using Feedback Effectively (And Making St Fun) 91

Debriefs Aren't Just for Bad Outcomes

Making Feedback Fun

Exactly What to Say When the Situation Gets Hard

Chapter 7 How to Be a Magical Meeting Participant 101

Recognize the Facilitator's Perspective: The entire forest vs. a single tree

Be a Partner to the Facilitator

Silence Denotes Agreement: The impact of what you don't say

Part 3 Aster Your Meetings and Your Meeting Culture

Chapter 8 Sharing the Meeting Story 113

The Magical Meetings Story Spine

You Captured; Now Curate the Highlight Reel

Share Your Highlights Archive

Formats for Your Stories

Chapter 9 How to Inspire Good Meeting Culture 123

Update Your Meeting Culture Constantly

Lessons Identified vs. Lessons Learned

Meeting Debt: Building a repository of meetings

How to Use Your Repository to Design a New Meeting System

Less Is More: The Power of Small Teams

Less Is More: How to Combat FOMO

Human-Centered Meetings: Using the human-centered design process to improve your meetings

How to Design Your Own Meeting Mantras Chapter 10

Chapter 10 How Meetings Will Evolve 145

Change Is Always Coming

Why Modern Leaders Need to Be Facilitators and Coaches

The Butterfly Effect: The healthy cycle of good facilitators and good participants

When to Hire a Facilitator (And What to Look for)

Chapter 11 Sharing the Meeting Story 155

Meeting Automations and Efficiencies

Five Ways Automation Technology Could Enhance Your Meetings

Crowdsourced Collaboration

Adaptive Communication Systems

Killing the Word "Meeting"

Managers Become Facilitators

Conclusion 169

Endnotes 173

Index 175

About the Authors 185

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