The WHY of meetings

the whole self.jpg

In an article on Skift last year the question of why would any one attend a meeting, conference or event was explored. The author reflected on the rise of more interdisciplinary programming that offers more diverse ways for audiences to engage with the events message and content. Engagement of the content should also provide opportunities for not only professional growth but personal growth as well. Whether we plan to or not, we do bring all of ourselves to work, and we would all like that self to be valued. A truly successful meeting should aim to work in such a way that the value of each participant can be unlocked and all voices can be heard, in a space that people are able to connect as human beings without hierarchy. 

Bringing our whole selves to work means acknowledging that we’re all vulnerable, imperfect human beings doing the best we can. It means having the courage to take risks, speak up, have compassion, ask for help, connect with others in a genuine way, and allow ourselves to be truly seen.
— Mike Robbins

If as stated in this article the future of bringing people together is convergence; then the question could be what outcome are we hoping from this? Do we want our ideas to become similar or do we simply want to bring people together in the same place to meet, exchange ideas and knowledge, and then go their separate ways? 


At Change By Exchange we work with processes to convene people; and during our consultation with the client we work to establish the purpose of the convening; to find the WHY of the meeting. For us successful convening starts before the meeting with a collaborative agenda and co-designed process that ensures buy-in by the participants. We also work to create spaces to explore and acknowledge unconscious biases and assumptions, so that each person can gain a greater understanding and perspective of the position of the other stakeholders. This is particularly important when working with multidisciplinary teams. The strength of any team is built on understanding, shared intention and effective feedback loops. In a world where we often work both offline and online together it is the quality of relationships that matter; and well-facilitated physical engagement is a important and powerful tool.

As innovation is increasingly dependent on the fusion of a vast range of skills, beliefs and disciplines, the most creative solutions are the result of the most extreme collisions of ideas as well as the ability to break down barriers between silos.

The Festivalisation of events was another trend cited; the ability for fun and interactive activities to engage participants. And whilst there is a need for energising spaces, at Change by Exchange we also work to design reflective spaces as well; because for a mind to be truly creative it needs not only stimulation but rest. If we are bringing our whole self to a meeting, we also want to bring our best self, and the role of facilitation and well-designed process is to bring out the best in everyone present, whilst meeting the objectives of the WHY.

The experience of having the mind slightly relaxed allows it to explore different combinations of ideas, to test out different solutions.
— a rested brain is more creative