Saturday, 13 April 2013

Shut up, just SHUT UP !!!!!

Last week I facilitated a meeting of about 40 executives through the medium of mime.

Apparently this is an unusual way to facilitate large, important company meetings but nobody told me. Ah well, you live and learn.

To be honest, I only ran the first hour of the meeting in mime and it seemed to work okay. At least I enjoyed it ! Goodness knows what the rest of them thought though (actually, I have a pretty good idea judging by the reaction I get in the corridors now).

There are two reasons why I decided to have a go at running a meeting silently.

Firstly, because I hadn't done it before. I have run hundreds of meetings and I want to keep exploring new ways of working. I have run meetings in the traditional manner, in verse and song, wearing a woman's dress, but never in mime. So I got to do something new. And doing new things is a jolly good thing, even if you end up looking like a fool. In fact, trying something new, risking looking like a fool and seeing if it works or not is essential. It's called innovation and we don't do nearly enough of it. Us grown up business types hate looking like fools, in case people point and laugh. But I've grown up being pointed and laughed at my whole life (particularly my teen years, and NO, I DON'T HAVE BOW LEGS AND A LONG NECK), so I really don't care much now.

Secondly, I think you should shut up. You talk too much and too fast. So do I. But when you are running a meeting your job isn't really to talk at all. It is to get other people to talk and interact. It is to make sure everything runs on time. It is to keep the participants interested and engaged and make sure they listen to whoever is speaking (not you).

So, that made me wonder whether it was possible to run a meeting without speaking at all.

And that's exactly what I did.

Guess what. It works! Kind of. Give it a go. But don't blame me when you find yourself looking for another job.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think most people will benefit from doing more listening. Your technique should work depending on the context. Some other methods I use depending on the situation are: Action Learning, World Cafe or my own "ELUDAaR".

ELUDAaR is my method of getting the best out of any conversation including meetings. ELUDAaR means
Engage, Listen, Understand, Deconstruct, Assumptions and Respond.