Monday, March 13, 2017

Send It In An Email: Five Alternatives to the Traditional Meeting

If you're an educator or anyone who works in a team setting, you're probably for too familiar with meetings. So far this month, and we are only 13 days and 9 school days into March, I have attended five meetings! Don't get me wrong, I love face to face meetings with people. As an extrovert I thrive on conversations with others. What drains me, though, are meetings that could be conducted via email.

Instead of holding people hostage in an hour long meeting, consider these options:

  • Send it as an email-an agenda that is merely a list of one liners that need little explanation, can, and should be, sent as an email. The tricky part is that we need to READ the email. No more excuses. If taking five minutes to read an email saves you from an hour of boredom and daydreaming, open the email and read it.
  • The flipped faculty meeting-get the business out of the way via email and/or send an article in advance of the meeting and then have teachers engage in meaningful conversations with one another about the article, planning, students, or across content areas. Teachers who long for the ability to meet and plan with their colleagues will appreciate the time dedicated to these rich conversations.
  • The virtual faculty meeting-this year I was fortunate enough to work with a supervisor who conducted one of her meetings in a Google doc, negating the need for her teachers to gather together after school. She created a series of tables within the doc that served the purpose of collecting responses for various questions. Teachers were asked to use separate cells in the table, change their font color, and respond to one another's ideas (similar to a blog comment). This back channel was well received and could be accomplished using myriad other apps: Twitter, Today's Meet, Padlet, and others.
  • The Voxer meeting-conduct a team meeting using the Voxer app, the instant messaging app that allows you to create audio, text, video, and image based messages. My favorite feature in Voxer is the voice recording aspect, as it allows me to get my message across quickly and easily.
  • The team building meeting-another meeting I was lucky enough to attend this year was a team building meeting in my building where teachers had the opportunity to play games; good old fashioned board games like Jenga, Taboo, and Pictionary; oversized games of checkers and Connect 4; and physical games in the gym that included basketball, volleyball, and ping pong. My team and I have also met outside of school to participate in an Amazing Escape Room experience. 
Meetings should be opportunities to gather together to share ideas, learn new things, and, most importantly, connect with others. I hope these ideas will help you move away from the bulleted agenda style meetings that we are accustomed to and explore other options. What other types of meetings have you been a part of? I'd love to bring your ideas back to my district!

A BIG shout out to AJ Bianco who helped me find my topic tonight by asking me what I did today. You guessed it, I had a meeting. Do me a favor, send AJ a tweet telling him how much you liked the topic! 

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