Pulsation in meetings

Johnnie Moore

I’m Johnnie Moore, and I help people work better together

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Over in Denmark my friend Jesper Bindslev has been trying a new approach to meetings.

Today I introduced the frame “quick and dirty” at work to introduce a practice I would like us to use in our meetings. We tend to have quite a number of interesting longer talks and over elaborations around subject. Though these talks are interesting, I had noted through many conversations and hallway meetings that we all seemed interested in some more decisiveness and action. “Quick and dirty” points towards that our meeting periods needs more action and decisiveness. In practice it simply involved to have small breaks every 30 minutes or when people felt like it for example if a lot of friction emerged in a discussion. Silences and shift in posture (by standing up and walking outside) can often remove these.

This produced good results. What interested me is the subtlety of Jesper’s approach, not what you might expect from a phrase like quick and dirty. You might have expected him to say that meetings would be time limited and we’d just make a decision and get on with it. Instead, he introduces breaks – in theory threatening to lengthen the time taken to reach a decision – but gets the results he wanted.

I think we easily neglect the primal human need for pulsation, the coming and going built into processes like the beating of our hearts of the breathing of our lungs. By incorporating pauses and breaks into the meetings, Jesper allows a kind of pulsation, acknowledges the humanness of the process, and gets better results.

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