Effective meetings F2F and virtually

How to make actually valuable preparation for meetings?

Take almost any ”5 tips for better meetings” list that is circulating online. One of the tips is almost certainly ”Arrive prepared to your meetings” – or ”require preparation from your attendees”, if you are hosting the meeting. 



What is this “preparation” most often? Reading the PowerPoint presentation of the other attendees for the meeting? Sending yours to the others? Discussions of the topics of the meeting in an email discussion thread?

Try a Hybrid meeting for more valuable preparation

In a hybrid meeting, the meeting is partly held asynchronously (read a separate blog here), and partly in face to face or in a virtual meeting. First, the facilitator sets up the topic for the session, and the process itself is run as a combination of asynchronous and face to face or virtual phases. Asynchronous phases take a time of a few minutes to 15 minutes at a time, making it very flexible for all. The phases can be for example the following:

What if you can have a way of asking people to do some actually valuable preparation work individually, and also in pairs or small groups? What if – when your attendees arrive to the meeting – there will be a lot of pre-prepared material as a basis for your prioritization and decision making? What if the meeting itself would take, for example 30 minutes of your actual common meeting time, instead of 2 hours of discussion started essentially from scratch?

Here's how to run a Hybrid meeting

1. Asynchronous preparation phase

  • First, the participants are invited to write their own suggestions, and take their time to do it on their own working time. Maybe a timespan of one to a few days for this is given
  • Then, the team is set in pairs. The people are asked to contact their pair, share and discuss their own suggestions. Now, the pairs are asked to come up with 4–5 new suggestions they both can agree on.

2. Meeting phase

  • The next phase is to get together in a face to face or a virtual meeting. Now, the pairs briefly present the pre-prepared suggestions to all. Typically, there may be 15–25 suggestions in total.
  • Then, the pairs decide to which suggestions they give votes, typically 4–6. Only one vote can go to the pair’s own suggestions
  • Finally, the suggestions are arranged under common topics. Typically, there are often many similar suggestions made by the pairs. Here, the suggestions are often very easily arranged to 3–6 topics, where the similar proposals fall under the same headlines. 

All in all, you can have a well-prepared decisions made in a common meeting in 30 minutes

Certainly, you can do other combinations as well. Like doing just the Own suggestions asynchronously. Or, do the phases until the Ranking Asynchronously, and get together for just the arranging and actions. Or at the end of a meeting, do the Own suggestions and Pair discussion together, and finish the process asynchronously.

This is the Fourth and final blog in a series of different operating modes of how you can power use OPERAmeeting in your team work. Look at the first one here, titled ”OPERAmeeting in a face to face meeting”, and the second one here, titled "Is this what’s happening in your online meetings?", and the third here, titled "Having hard time scheduling a meeting with your colleagues?"

Read the tutorials of OPERAmeeting here, and download your free OPERAmeeting app here.

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