Make Your Meetings Better: An Introduction to the Involvement Edge

April 2005
by Richard H. Axelrod

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Richard Axelrod, Emily M. Axelrod, Julie Beedon, and Robert W. Jacobs

Most people consider meetings time wasting, energy draining, and spirit sapping and seek to reduce the pain by avoiding them or eliminating them–thus dealing with the symptoms, not the problem. But meetings are miniature involvement processes, and as such have highly symbolic value beyond the purpose they are called for. Low-involvement meetings sap energy, while high-involvement meetings produce energy. It is in meetings that people decide whether to remain on board or walk away, whether to push hard for success or to let things drift, whether to give their all to the project or allow distractions and other commitments to dissipate their energies.

If we want meetings to be dynamic, energy producing, exciting experiences that get things done, we need to focus on how to make them productive.

 

Agendas and efficient structures are important. But they’re not enough, so we have created a canoe-shaped meeting blueprint for creating an involvement edge. When we begin a meeting, conversation is at its narrowest point. Gradually, it expands as we develop a clear picture of where we are and where we want to go. At this point, the most choices are on the table and there is a danger of rushing to a conclusion, thereby missing important opportunities. Still, you can’t explore options forever. The conversation narrows as we decide what to do and who does what. Finally, it closes…IBPA Members – Click here to view the full article (login required).

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