How, with digital collaboration, can we break down the dysfunction of one-directional meetings, unleash everyone, and allow thoughts to emerge simultaneously?

We have all seen a crime drama or mystery where the investigator stands in front of a pinboard and on it are multiple photos of leads, clues, and locations–everything connected with a thread allowing a pattern to emerge. This is an example of what can be created in real-time with a group of people problem-solving. Imagine a high-functioning space for idea sharing, collaboration, and unleashing everyone’s potential by designing your meeting or workshop with parallel creation in mind.

Traditional Meeting Spaces

It is very easy for a meeting to start and remain headed in one direction. We’ve all been there: a question is posed and eyes are averted, no one wants to be the first to speak. The Harvard Business Review has found that not only have meetings increased in length and frequency overthe past 50 years, but executives, on average, spend nearly 23 hours a week in them. How do we make meetings more efficient?

We need to be collaborative and get as many great ideas out in one meeting rather than in multiple meetings. Multi-threaded meetings create concept direction and give everyone a safe space to share their unique ideas. That is where real growth happens. That is where the game-changing ideas are born. Teamwork is essential to creating and maintaining a productive and stimulating work environment.

Harvard Business Review – 

“We surveyed 182 senior managers in a range of industries: 65% said meetings keep them from completing their own work. 71% said meetings are unproductive and inefficient. 64% said meetings come at the expense of deep thinking. 62% said meetings miss opportunities to bring the team closer together.”

Multi-Threaded Meetings

There is a general consensus that the multitude of workplace meetings is a necessary evil. Most people find that they dread multiple weekly meetings, but they feel that is the only way to ensure innovation, even at the cost of productivity and engagement. In order to create a streamlined meeting process, we first need to ask, “Will this environment nurture ideas?” Whether your meeting space is digital or in person, does every member of your team feel like they have room to share and contribute to the board? Once you established the most conducive working environment, ideas can be shared in parallel among team members, and that momentum unleashes the potential of every person in your workspace. Imagine what you and your company can accomplish in one meeting if there is nothing that holds creative collaboration back!

The Why

Have you ever attempted to plan a party? The list of tasks seems endless and daunting! You approach it one thing at a time, finishing a single task before moving on to the next. Applying this parallelism to a meeting, doesn’t it make so much more sense to assign each person to one task, where everyone executes in parallel, rather than trying to accomplish one thing at a time serially? Efficiency, strategy, and trust means a more satisfying meeting experience! A  multi-threaded meeting is like a well planned party. Invite everyone to bring forth all their ideas and share in real time to unlock the full potential of participants in your meetings. Discovering the power to unleash that potential in a meaningful way changes the outcome of the meeting, the company, and the individual!

Digital Inclusivity

When it comes to working remotely, there has been significant research showing that it’s not about where your team is located, rather, it is about who is doing the work and how it is getting done. In an excellent article from MIT Sloan – Management Review, a group’s collaborative capabilities far outway the importance of where they are located. The team’s social perceptiveness is key to the underlying collective intelligence. Identifying team strengths and creating a digital workspace is crucial for a high functioning remote team. Finding the right digital tools is also very important. We must especially prompt people to have creative parallel inputs… but how? 

When we worked solely in person, we would use sticky notes, or a napkin at a lunch meeting to capture ideas and answer the questions, “How might we/how could we accomplish the end goal?” The next step, inevitably, was to stick visual ideas to a wall, sift and sort through them, decipher what would/would not work. Now, we move forward with virtual meetings, utilizing MURAL, and can have everyone capture every idea, simultaneously. This allows us to easily inspire each other in real time.

Pro tip: check out our free downloadable MURAL templates for better meetings.

The next time you run into a problem that poses a challenge to your team, rather than simply setting up a conversation, pose a thoughtful question. Allow the entire team to start working in a MURAL template. Encourage everyone to read the others ideas so they can build on them. Create a conversation that inspires and that everyone can respond to in their own time.  

This is why we’re big fans of MURAL, the collaborative tool allows every thread to happen simultaneously, where multiple people can take notes and make edits, even if another person is talking. This tool allows for idea sharing without total chaos. Another bonus: you can save anything created in MURAL  so you can come back, build on, and polish ideas.

Are You Ready?

It is time to take your meetings to the next level, discover the power of the multi-threaded meeting in depth by utilizing some of our mural templates! You will walk away with templates to run your own multi-threaded meeting, new found knowledge of meeting facilitation and the ability to unleash you and your company!