Re-Imagining Effective Work

Unconventional Meetings

In Jeffrey Baumgartner’s newsletter last year, he wrote about unconventional meetings. I happened to read the article again today, and it has some great ideas for re-imagining effective work:

Most likely, you have a process of booking meeting rooms (at least if yours is a larger company), sitting around a table and following a structured approach to your meeting which is all very conventional and, let us be honest here, boring.

Fortunately, there are all kinds of ways you can challenge your meeting conventions. Don’t book a room, but randomly seek a space just before the meeting is to start. Have a standing meeting. Book and empty room and sit on the floor. Have a walking meeting. Sit outside. Stand on the roof. Establish a talking stick and make it mandatory that a person may only speak if holding the stick. Require that everyone wear a hat. Limit everyone to 30 seconds of speaking time. Use webinar software to hold a meeting even though you are all in the same room.

Think about it and I am sure you can come up with a dozen unconventional ways to hold meetings. Better still, try some of them!

Yes, I know that a number of the ideas above have been suggested by others long ago — and some of the ideas, such as standing meetings and walking meetings have fans who swear by these approaches. Nevertheless, changing the way you hold meetings is particularly useful if you want people to think more creatively. By challenging the conventions of corporate meetings, you open participants’ minds to the idea of challenging conventions in other aspects of business — and it is just such thinking that leads to creativity.

So, if you want to be more creative yourself or if you want your team to be more creative, learn to reject conventional thinking from time to time.

For more Jeffrey goodness, see