This is entry 1 of the blogchain Better Leading, Better Meeting.
You can lead better meetings and engage in them more fruitfully if you can learn to think of meetings more broadly. I find using the word gathering is helpful.
A gathering is any setting in which people connect with each other for a period of time. A gathering may happen accidently at a bus stop or purposely at a bridal shower. A gathering may happen once a year in person or every day on the phone. And in gatherings we do all kinds of things:
- We decide.
- We review.
- We celebrate.
- We worship.
- We confront.
- We explore.
- We learn.
- We experience.
Thinking broadly about meetings/gatherings allows you to discover patterns in human nature that exist across domains: not only in how people think, act, or feel, but in how they do these things together. This means a doctor can learn how to care for patients by watching a mechanic take care of a customer. A dinner party host can learn from a dance teacher.
Meetings are relational events. They are about people first and tasks second. We (1) meet (2). Learning this is an essential step to improving any kind of meeting, and it reveals new sources for wisdom.