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Meetings as Information Behaviors

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.

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Meetings as Information Behaviors

  1. 1. Meetings An Architecture of Information Behaviors
  2. 2. 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 at all. 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 meeting. 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 surprising. 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.
  3. 3. 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 behaviors Meetings are an orchestrated group behavior: an objective pursued via purposeful engagement. The framework exposes the reality of composing meetings. 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 logically meaningful. 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 time.
  4. 4. Typical materials: Engagement Function Info Purpose REQUEST EXPLAIN CONFIRM CONVINCE Potential Feedback: Offers PERSUASION distinctions advantages Advocated Proofs COMPARISON status measures Preferred Demos INSTRUCTION examples reasons Adopted News NOTIFICATION messages circumstances Acknowledged Facts DESCRIPTION needs context data evidence Received Activities: interaction can be example example example Responses: Presenting Unilateral closed-ended Commands Reviews Complaints Alignment Exploring Bi-lateral open-ended Questions Analyses Designs Evaluation Producing Multi-lateral closed-ended Replies Proposals Decisions Completion The value of a meeting is that it is consequential, due to the timing of active synchronous interpersonal engagement ©2017 Malcolm Ryder / Archestra Research
  5. 5. Archestra notebooks compile and organize decades of in-the-field empirical findings. The notes offer explanations of why things are included, excluded, or can happen in certain ways or to certain effects. The descriptions are determined mainly from the perspective of strategy and architecture. They comment on, and navigate between, the motives and potentials that predetermine the decisions and shapes of activity as discussed in the notes. As ongoing research, all notebooks are subject to change. ©2017 Malcolm Ryder / Archestra Research ©2017 Malcolm Ryder / Archestra Research