Week 4 PMWC check-in

Meeting chat and WildTunes

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Hello all, 

I wanted to check in to see how you are getting on with things this week. How is everyone? Does anyone have any questions? 

There are a few things I would like to share with you:

VICAR OF DIBLEY CLIP

This is a clip of the first-ever episode of the Vicar of Dibley, maybe you have seen it before?! It is very English! 😬 As a bonus (slightly silly) exercise, please watch the clip then comment on this post with feedback on things you think they did well in the meeting and things they could have done better. The purpose of this exercise is to practice giving feedback on a meeting so that we can improve the ways we do things and help others improve also.

MEETING CHAT
Meetings are a topic I find oddly interesting. Many of us have a love/hate relationship with them. We feel sometimes that time spent in meetings is time spent away from doing ‘actual work’, but conversely, we can sometimes feel left out if we are not invited to certain meetings.

Here are some more resources about meetings you may find interesting:

  1. Freakonomics podcast. An interesting point discussed in this podcast is that we generally fill the time we have, so if we have an hour for a meeting it will generally take an hour!
  2. Stop the Meeting Madness article. Amongst many other things, this article discusses research that apparently that meetings have increased in length and frequency over the past 50 years!

What are your top meeting tips? Please comment below.


WILDTUNES

In WildTeam class-based workshops we have a playlist we listen to during the breaks and sometimes whilst doing the exercises called 'WildTunes', here. It is a collaborative playlist where the only rule is that the songs have a link to wildlife! 🎧🥁🎹  

All the best, 

Beth

Beth Robinson

WildLearning Specialist, WildTeam

I'm a WildLearning Specialist with WildTeam, a bit of a odd job title. My main role is to design, deliver and organise both our online and class-based training workshops. One of the best parts of my job is meeting other conservationists and learning about the work that they do. I really enjoy geeking out reading teaching theory and thinking about ways I can more creatively and engagingly deliver learning. Before working for WildTeam I did a PhD in invasive plants and human wildlife interactions. I find it really interesting to learn about the ways people interact with nature, both when nature is being wonderful, but also when is is being a bit annoying!
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Comments

Go to the profile of Francesca Bandoli
10 months ago

Hi Beth,

Thank you very much for these interesting resources. I like meetings as well, but sometimes I found very challenging organizing them and ensuring their effectiveness.

I have a question about managing risks and issues. In the final part of the video which is dedicated to tailoring, I did not understand what it is meant for "risk and issue escalation hierarchy". Could you please provide 1 or 2 practice examples?

Thank you very much in advance. Hugs from Italy.

Francesca

Go to the profile of Beth Robinson
10 months ago

Hello Francesca, oh yes, that is a confusing term, sorry for not explaining. It means a process of taking the risk or issue to a higher level, for example, if a risk is rated as high overall, then you need to immediately tell the project manager. If it is rated as low, then all you need to do is leave it on the project tracker and it will be discussed in the next status meeting. 

Go to the profile of David Champness
10 months ago

Hi Beth,

In regards to the video, firstly many thanks for reminding me how great the Vicar of Dibley was! In terms of went went well, I would say appointment of roles to some extent (Chair, minute taker etc) started the meeting on time even if someone was late, took minutes and listened to everyone's views (even if they made little sense). Things that went badly were , chair making decisions without consensus, poor minute taking, loss of focus with late arrival. 

In regards to meeting tips we have used a few in my organisation over the years including 'everyone stands' meetings and timed contributions per person so everyone contributes. The best recent trend would be 'Silent meetings' where either part or all the meeting is actually held in silence (https://slab.com/blog/silent-meetings/). This helps focus the mind if you have a clear agenda. 

Thanks

David

Go to the profile of Beth Robinson
10 months ago

Hello David, we re-watched the whole of the Vicar of Dibley during lockdown! I had forgotten how good it is.  

I had not heard of silent meetings before, that is a great idea. Thank you for sharing.

Go to the profile of Francesca Bandoli
10 months ago

Hi Beth,

In the video I appreciated that they started on time, assigned some of the roles and referred to an agenda which was available to all the participants. I also like that the Chair asked for the participants' opinion and closed the meeting scheduling the next one. Regarding things they could have done better, I would say, the chair using sometimes a rude tone, the chair making decisions without any type of voting procedure, poor minute taking (lack of a proper selection of the information), lack of procedure to tackle misbehavior, such as arriving late.

In regards to meeting tips, when we organize meetings with the keepers at the zoo, a week before we hang up in the animal kitchen a board where they can write topics they would like to talk about. This usually works well because keepers have a chance to propose ideas, discuss issues and communicate with each other facilitated by our head of Human Resources. We usually try to dedicate some meetings only to team building activities to prevent or address issues that could arise among the staff.

Thanks

Francesca

Go to the profile of Beth Robinson
10 months ago

Yes, good points, thanks Francesca. I'm not sure many people would get away with being so rude in a meeting! 

Nice idea about the board to write topics on. 

Go to the profile of Rachel Davies
10 months ago

I have mixed feelings about meetings, especially weekly-update meetings in my current role! I do believe they have a time and place, but I think it is easy for them to get off track and end up taking more time than is necessary. I fully agree that a meeting will take as long as it is scheduled so set up invites carefully.

Notes on the video:

Started meeting on time, possibly could have waited just a few minutes for late arrivals.

Use of an agenda, helps provide structure to the meetings and keeps things on track.

Taking minutes, helps provide a record of the meeting that can be shared when needed.

Go to the profile of Rachel Davies
10 months ago

I forgot to add meeting tips:

I always take minutes- even if they are just jotted in an email to meeting attendees. I didn't always used to do this but I found work was getting missed (particularly when meetings were held over the phone) and having a written record helps people remember their tasks and gives everyone a document to refer back to.

Always leave a quick break in between meetings if you can- it really helps to have a quick break and, especially these days, take a few minutes away from a computer screen.

If you don't need an agenda (for team meetings or small one-to-one meetings) spend a few minutes prior and write a quick bullet point list of things you want to cover. This can help to casually guide the meeting and keep things a bit tighter.