ICA Meeting Orchestration Template

Meetings are costly events –

Have you ever heard someone say they sit through countless meetings?  Usually we take this to mean they attend a lot of meetings.  Too often, however, it means the meeting did not count, did not contribute meaningfully to shared information or better collaboration.   So what can you do to ensure that your meetings do count?

The Institute of Cultural Affairs, Canada Division, http://www.icacan.org/, is a charitable organization with a vision to ‘support thoughtful leaders who are inspired to lead the way to positive social change’.  They have developed an approach called the Technology of Participation that offers training and resources to help individuals and organizations engage people.  The methodology is suitable for small to large meetings, to assist with collaborative approaches to information sharing, strategic planning, work planning or conflict resolution.

A copy of the meeting planning template is posted below.  It incorporates the 4 key features that can serve as a checklist to decide if you need to call and plan a meeting, or cancel it:

1.  Does the meeting have a focus?  Though it seems very obvious that a meeting should have focus, the intent can get lost in the time-crunched pressures of day-to-day schedules.  It can also get missed when meetings are organized on a standing basis; for example, there is a team meeting scheduled every week, a staff meeting scheduled every month.   Meetings may be scheduled this way so people had advanced notice to free-up their schedule – you and they will want to make sure, though, that the time is well spent.

2.  Have you specified Rational Objectives, that are explicitly stated on an agenda?  Have you identified the expectation of information sharing or decision-making?  Do people know why they are there, and what the meeting is intended to produce?

3.  Have you considered and planned for the experience you want the meeting participants to get out of the meeting?  For example, do you want them to feel the urgency of an issue, or wish them tocelebrate a team achievement.

4.  Given the above objectives, what advance notice or preparation do you need to do?  How will you move the participants through the meeting?  Is there anything that needs to be done after the  meeting – minutes or notes, a thank you card, or follow-up actions?

These 4 simple questions that can lead to participants appreciating the value of the meeting and prepare their participation.

Please see a copy of the meeting template below.  To support your work, the Manager’s Corner has developed a meeting planning checklist based on this tool.