Effective meetings F2F and virtually

OPERAmeeting in a face to face meeting

This is the first blog of four in a series of different operating modes of how you can power use OPERAmeeting in your team work.

OPERAmeeting in improving your Face-to-Face meetings

OPERAmeeting is a powerful tool in ensuring the good decisions, ideas from all and activation, involvement & engagement of your whole team in a meeting. Read here why and how.

Problems in a common way of running meetings

Most of us recognize this dilemma In a ”traditional” meeting: You are in a meeting of, say 8 people. An important topic is handled. Possible solutions are discussed how to proceed with the topic.

Now, what happens: In the group of the 8 participants, 2–3 most outspoken individuals dominate the discussion, regardless of the actual value of their input. The inner circle feel very motivated and involved, and are very engaged to the outcome and "common" decisions.

At the same time, the rest of the group feel being left to the outer circle in the discussion. The people at the outer circle (often the most introverted) very easily are left without a slightest engagement on the decisions. They even may start their "shadow" meetings in small groups after the common event. "Wrong decisions were made", they might say. When the active people hear about these discussions, they are genuinely amazed: "We had a meeting about this! Why didn't you say anything, crying out loud!!" 

Then, in a traditional meeting, the presented suggestions are typically shot down as they are presented. This makes people basically shut up – and remain in the outer circle in the future. And typically, there is no prioritization (other than made by the loud people, at best). Wrap up of the results is often not made, results are not crystallized, and responsibilities are not agreed. Let alone if you'd find engaged people to volunteer for future action in the first place.  

OPERAmeeting: a way of improving your meetings

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Allow Own thoughts first

In OPERA process (which is a basis for OPERAmeeting) all the participants are engaged on the same level of involvement. See more info on OPERA process here). After the challenge has been set for all, people are allowed to produced their own suggestions individually. Even the most introverted are contributing in "O" phase, Own Thoughts.

Pair work for safe sharing the ideas

Then, the participants are formed in pairs, or small groups of max 4 people. We call this phase "P" (Pair discussion). Now, the suggestions are shared, and common proposals are formed for all to see in the next phases. The introverted often are outright scared of speaking in front of a group (Actually, studies say that most of us are more afraid of public speaking than death). In a pair work, however, they feel "safe" to share their ideas.

Explanation and Ranking for common commitment

Next, Pair's ideas are visible to all. Here, the pair's suggestions are very briefly explained to all. The participants make here bookmarks of interesting suggestions as they hear the short presentations. What is important here, is that no discussion is allowed here. That's because "discussion" easily escalates into negative argumentation-counter argumentation debate.

Then, as all the presentations are heard, the pairs are asked to have a brief discussion of which suggestions they would like to support. The Pairs are typically allowed to give 3–6 votes to spread to all suggestions (typically: 20–25% of the total amount of suggestions). An important catch here is that only one of the pair's own suggestions is allowed to select. This will force the participants to find merit of others than just their own brain childs. Focusing the ideas of others mainly builds common commitment as a team. The another reason why we didn't allow for argument-counter argument discussion of "bad" ideas in the previous phase is that the "bad ideas" are forgot altogether, and the focus and energy is on 100% on the ideas the participants actually feel valuable

Arranging and Actions for making sure the actions are followed up

In OPERAmeeting, the ideas that gathered support in the voting phase, are primarily arranged according to their total votes. Usually, this pool of suggestions consists of fairly limited number of genuinely different ideas: Here, the suggestions are easily arranged into typically under 3–6 topics for further actions. Here, as the participants have been actively and commonly been producing the end results, it often is easy to find volunteers to take action on the topics after the session.

Look here at a Tutorial how to run an OPERAmeeting session.

Download your own free OPERAmeeting app here


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