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A meeting is a group behavior, and the value of the meeting will depend on why people will do what they do with it. This framework explains the cause and effect linkages occurring within a meeting that actually is needed instead of merely held.
An Architecture of Information Behaviors
How to Build a Meeting
Given the “always-on” information access that is
typical today, the most important decision to
make about a meeting is the decision to have it
Certainly, there are meetings that take place
mainly to find out if attendees know the priority
of what to look for when they are not in the
meeting. And although those meetings are not
exceptions, the only reason to take them
seriously would be based on the observable
effectiveness of their intent.
That thought gives us the starting point for
understanding meetings in general: the only
reason to have a meeting is to get something
done that wouldn’t get done without the
This perspective pushes the matter into
understanding how a meeting is worth the
trouble. In turn, that brings up the first key
factor of a meeting: timing.
The second key factor is, of course, the
“do-ers” who will attend; they should actually
know what they are doing for and in the
meeting, not outside of the meeting.
And a third key factor is, again, what the
meeting actually accomplishes.
So far, if there actually is a need for a meeting,
we haven’t pointed at anything particularly
And the main point is still to not have a meeting
unless it will generate something important that
won’t otherwise be generated on time.
How to Build a Meeting (cont’d)
This perspective on informational behavior
pushes the matter into understanding how a
meeting will be a cause of a valuable effect.
To chart this relationship, the Archestra
Research framework considers:
• the forms of information that make ideas
usable in the meeting (materials, concepts)
• the behaviors that drive a meeting forward in
some predictable way (motivated activity
types that work on ideas or engagement)
• And the reactions to those forms and
Meetings are an orchestrated group behavior:
an objective pursued via purposeful
The framework exposes the reality of
Although meetings can be given a standardized
pattern, the pattern itself should exist only to
promote the consequence that provides the
important difference needed at that time.
It isn’t the pattern that makes the meeting
successful; it is the focus that makes the pattern
The framework emphasizes the need to identify
the supports for the focus:
• In the absence of “completed” communication
through other means, how information will be
used in a real-time synchronous engagement
to pursue an effect that is necessary at that