Top podcasts that can help us do better work together

Last year we began the Control the Room Podcast–a series devoted to the exploration of meeting culture and uncovering cures for the common meeting as an extension of our company mission: to rid the world of terrible meetings and build better meeting culture everywhere. 

Some meetings have tight control, and others are loose. To ‘control the room’ means achieving outcomes while striking a balance between imposing and removing structure, asserting and distributing power, leaning in and leaning out, all in the service of having a truly magical meeting.

In an effort to foster more conversations around better meetings, facilitation, design, leadership, and how we can operate at our best in the business landscape together, our founder Douglas Ferguson speaks with professionals across industries about meeting culture and how to have more magical meetings. 

What’s a magical meeting you may ask? It is a meeting that abides by our 10 Meeting Mantra–our holy grail for successful meetings–and it’s how we think meeting everywhere should be run: 

  • The meeting has a clear objective/purpose
  • All participants are engaged and contributing
  • You do the work in the meeting, not after
  • It is a psychologically safe space to share thoughts and ideas
  • Facilitators capture room intelligence 
  • The group embraces the child’s mind 
  • A strategic agenda is created and followed, respecting everyone’s time 
  • The group debriefs for durability 
Magical Meetings Quick Start Guide


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Create and run magical meetings with our bite-sized guide, based on the full guide Magical Meetings: Reinvent How Your Team Works Together

Through conversation with meeting practitioners, design experts, CEOs, facilitators, leadership coaches, and business leaders across industries, the Control the Room Podcast offers insight into how we can improve the way we work together. 

We’ve rounded up 10 of our top podcast episodes, in no particular order, that span topics from design thinking and remote work to how to be a great facilitator and have courageous conversations in the workplace. 

Top 10 Podcasts 

Design Thinking in a Virtual World, with Daniel Stillman

Daniel shares how he got started as a conversation designer and why he believes that everything is an active conversation. He speaks about what he would change about meetings and why having a narrative with an opening, exploration, and closing is essential in a productive conversation.

Listen as Douglas and Daniel discuss impromptu networking, the best questions to ask, and the definition of appreciative inquiry. They also talk about meeting mantras and why they are so important. Daniel shares his take on why using sticky notes is so effective in the ideation process and how to translate the practice to the virtual landscape.

Daniel also explains how to host a virtual rock, paper, scissors tournament; it’s both crazy and fun. Order a copy of Daniel’s book Good Talk, How to Design Conversations that Matter’, available now.

Designing a Remote Employee Experience That Will Go the Distance, with Kaleem Clarkson

Kaleem is the COO and Co-founder of Blend Me, Inc., a consulting firm that cultivates remote employee experiences from onboarding through off-boarding. He has a particular interest in culture-driven organizations. Kaleem is also the COO of RemotelyOne, a members-only community on a mission to end remote work isolation by connecting and building relationships between location-independent professionals.

Kaleem and Douglas speak about the different types of remote work, why some companies are struggling to transition to remote work, and why it’s so important for a job posting to accurately represent your organization’s culture. Listen in to find out how Kaleem’s experience as a member of a college metal band led to his career as an employee experience expert.

Embrace the Messy, with Teresa Torres

Teresa and Douglas examine her diverse career journey centered in human-centered design, where she helps organizations embrace and optimize the complex dynamics of team decision-making. Teresa shares the benefits that organizations can gain when they embrace the “messiness” of collaborating in complex systems and the opportunity they then have to “empower the edges.” 

They discuss Teresa’s approach to the “decision-making trio” that occurs during group decision-making and the value of listening to individual team member’s unique perspectives Teresa also highlights how an organization can interview its customers using an empathetic approach, and the corresponding revelations that can arise when teams “do the work in their own research.” Listen in to hear Teresa’s take on how to work together as a team when complex problems arise in your organization and gain the skills necessary to make effective decisions for your team and your customers.  

What Distinguishes a Great Facilitator, with Michael Wilkinson

Michael is the CEO and Managing Director of Leadership Strategies, the largest provider of professional facilitation in the country. He grew up in the projects–described by his sister as a “Sesame Street Gangster”–and eventually found himself at a New England prep school through his job as a paperboy. After turning down an acceptance to Harvard Business School, Michael abandoned his 10-year plan to become undersecretary of Housing and Urban Development to begin a “faith-walk” that ultimately ended in his founding Leadership Strategies.

In this episode, Michael and Douglas talk about his path to the International Association of Facilitators Hall of Fame, what makes a facilitator great, and the six P’s of preparing for a meeting. Listen in to find out how Michael identifies and trains facilitators with great potential and how to ask the right questions in meetings.

Clean Language, Clear Metaphors, with Judy Rees

Judy Rees is a consultant at Rees McCann where she leads a community of trainers, facilitators, producers, and others who want to make online work better than in the room. She is also the author of the Web Events That Connect How-to Guide and co-author of Clean Language: Revealing Metaphors and Opening Minds.

In this episode, Judy and Douglas talk about clean language, gardening, and contextual intent. Listen in to learn what subtleties can be uncovered in the words we use every day, through active listening and asking the right questions.

Courageous Conversations and Cultural Competency, with Kazique Prince

Kazique is the Founder & CEO of Jelani Consulting LLC, where he works with businesses and nonprofits as a DEI consultant. He also serves as the senior policy advisor and education coordinator for the City of Austin’s mayor, Steve Adler, and has launched a nonprofit called Courage Equity that’s aimed at funding educators who focus on cultural fluency.

In this episode, Douglas and Kazique talk about empathy-driven inclusion, psychological awareness in the workplace, and how reconciliation affects all aspects of an individual’s life. Listen in to catch a glimpse of what reality could look like if we shifted our collective focus from punitive scrutiny to empowering practices.

Why Your Meeting Really Isn’t Your Meeting, with Lynda Baker

Lynda is an IAF Certified Professional Facilitator Master, meeting leader coach, and founder and president of Meeting Solutions Online. As a certified professional facilitator, she creates collaborative client relationships, plans appropriate group processes, creates and sustains a participatory environment, and guides groups to appropriate and useful outcomes. She also trains meeting leaders and managers who want to remove blocks that prevent them from running productive meetings.

In today’s episode, Lynda and Douglas talk about her early days of being seduced by technology, why she clicked with the IAF, and how the IAF holds people accountable. Listen in to find out how Lynda teaches the concepts of facilitation, why “your” meeting isn’t “your” meeting, and why you don’t have to manage or control every part of the conversation.

Complex Problems and the Clarity to Solve Them, with Ed Morrison

Ed is the Director of the Agile Strategy Lab at North Alabama University and the author of Strategic Doing. His years of experience with international and domestic problem-solving at the intersection of rapidly shifting technological landscapes, endow him with a sharp mind and a dynamic worldview.

Ed and Douglas speak about team-based communication models, Strategic Doing, and transformative thinking for hopeless, uncertain futures. Listen in to hear Ed guide us through the questions, processes, and frameworks that will help in making the most of complex environments.

Think Visually, with David Sibbet

David and Douglas break down his unique career path in consulting and facilitating visual meetings and how individuals can use visual elements to amplify their learning in the workplace. From the installation of his consulting company in the mid-70s to the present day, David’s focus on design thinking continues to drive him to help companies achieve a “sophisticated level of systems thinking” in meetings.

David reflects on the components of his creation, the Group Graphics tool, and its effectiveness to help teams find focus during workshops. Douglas and David examine the impact of using “clean language” in the workplace and the ability to have a metaphorical thinking mindset, which he believes can indirectly lead to inclusivity within your organization. David also shares lessons he learned through enduring the peaks and valleys of decision-making when working with past clients. They conclude by taking a closer look at his passion project and non-profit organization, the Global Learning & Exchange Network (GLEN), and the responsibility we must uphold to build a better world for humanity on both local and global levels.

Pioneering Tech & Social Development in Meetings, with Nicole Baer

Nicole is the Global Head of Marketing for Logitech’s Video Collaboration Business. She’s well versed in non-verbal communication and perception with regard to connection in meetings. Perceptive and empathetic, Nicole brings humility and awareness to every conversation and invites other facilitators to do the same.

In this episode, Nicole and Douglas speak about AI personal assistants, fighting the daily burden of cognitive load, and interjecting levity into the mundane. Listen in to see how she showcases the necessity of including aspects of normal social dynamics into our virtual environments.

Are you interested in being a guest on the Control the Room Podcast?

We’re always looking to chat with business professionals to better understand the state of work today, what we can expect in the future, and how we do better work together. Reach out at