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Eliminate Presentations During Business Meetings?

It seems clear to me it is time to replace the practice of time consuming and efficiency sapping presentations for a more productive model. While that statement may make Powerpoint and Keynote jockeys weep, let them. Presentations have wasted enough of our time already. It’s time for the business world to move on from live, real time presentations of ideas as a ‘default’ activity. There certainly is a place for them, but as a communication method of ideas, there are better ways to engage meeting attendees much more effectively.

Jeff Weiner, CEO at Linkedin in a blog posting on LinkedIn describes a different way of managing meetings and engaging with content.

In a related and interesting note, the UK itSMF chapter has banned their Special Interest Groups (SIG) from delivering a presentation at conference this year. If it can be presented, it could be delivered by video (think TED talks). What is critical about getting people together is to take full advantage of the brain power, communication and group activity of those in attendance. Every SIG has to create and execute on an experiential learning session – where Powerpoint/Keynote will be used to guide the learning and discussion activity in the room, but not as part of a presention.

There are remarkable similarities between Jeff Weiner’s 6 key steps and the KT Clear Thinking process. Below I’ve put them in the Situation Appraisal framework and built on a few of them:

1. Define the objective of the meeting. When Jeff talks about defining the scope of appraisal, KT Clear Thinking Identifies the theme using KT Decision Analysis by defining a Decision Statement and Objectives.

2. Identify who is driving. KT calls this Planning Involvement, a step in KT Situation Appraisal.

3. Take the time to define semantics (and first principles). Also a step in KT Situation Appraisal – List Concerns then Separate and Clarify. One of the most critical steps in issue resolution.

4. Assign someone to take notes. I’ll take this one step further – assign someone to take notes and make them visible to all attendees in real time. See how KT does it..

5. Summarize key action items, deliverables, and points of accountability. We call it Next Steps & Plan Involvement from KT Situation Appraisal.

6. Ask what you can do better. This is falls right into KT Potential Opportunity Analysis.

While Jeff Weiner knows that this style of meeting management works, and many people from experience know that it does, KT Clear Thinking illuminates why it works. Situation Appraisal and other Clear Thinking techniques explain the parts of clear thinking to be done in advance and the parts that should be done with people in real time during the meeting.

To eliminate useless meetings, maximize Clear Thinking both in advance and during your meetings.


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