One Meeting, One Idea
I am reasonably open to meetings. I don’t say Yes to every request that comes, but if there is a referral from a source I trust, I go ahead and do the meeting. When I go into a meeting, I have one key objective: to get one new idea.
When one meets with different people, we see the world through their eyes. They have constructed mental models of the world. These are different from ours. So, one has to understand how they view the world because that will give us a new frame of reference which can provide new ideas. That is why it is important to have conversations, read books, listen to different people and put ourselves in different situations.
Meetings are for me the best source of new ideas. While I always have plenty of things to talk about, I do try and listen to learn. Each meeting is unique and goes in many different directions. A typical 60-minute meeting means more than 10,000 spoken words. That is a lot! Do 6 meetings in a day, and it is almost like writing a book.
My approach to meetings is three-fold: to listen, to be alert when something different and interesting is said, and to walk away with at least one good new idea. To listen means ensuring that there are no visual distractions – no emails, no Whatsapp, and the likes. My approach is to make notes – so it keeps me from getting distracted with my own tangential thoughts. When I sense something interesting, I mark it in my notebook so I can come back to it later – especially if I have a continuous stream of meetings which limit thinking time between meetings. Finally, either after a meeting or at the end of the day, I will review my notes to see which ideas stood out and how I can link them and enhance my own mental models.
So, go into a meeting with a simple objective: can you learn one new thing that you did not know. If you can do this, the meeting will have served its objective, and you will be better for it.
Tomorrow: My Proficorn Way (Part 24)