Meetings not working? Try Meeting Maps.

Did you ever notice that some people say an awful lot in meetings and others say almost nothing? Or, that they flow off information seemed to come from one or two people towards everybody else?

Effective meetings tend to have much more even participation and contribution from all the participants (if your meetings have attendees rather than participants then that’s the start of the problem). Meetings are a tool most effectively used for gathering input from as many of the participants as possible.

So how do meetings typically go? One simple way of finding out is to map the next meeting that you participate in. Its very simple, you draw a map.

Meeting Map of Team Meeting

Team Meeting - Guess who’s the boss?

The most efficient way to do this is to;

  • Start with outlining the meeting table and the participants sitting around it, represented by a small circle around the meeting table with the name of each person written next to it.
  • Draw a circle in the middle of the meeting table which represents speech that has been put forward by one person directed to the rest of the group (and not just one person in particular).
  • For each 30 seconds that a person is speaking, draw a line connecting their circle to whoever they are directing their speech to.
    • For instance, if a person is addressing the group as a whole, then draw a line going from their circle to the circle that you have drawn in the middle of the table.
    • If instead they are only addressing one person in the group, then draw a line between their circle and the person’s circle that they are talking to. If they talk for longer than 30 seconds, then draw a second line between the circles and so on until they have finished talking.

At the end of the meeting you should have an easy to read map which will show you who has done the majority of the speaking and those who have refrained from talking.

Meeting Map - Project Meeting

Project Meeting - Mainly Project Manager getting individual updates.

If you would like to send me a copy of one of your maps that would be appreciated. I’ll email you back with  my analysis. We’ll look at what these maps tell us shortly.

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