Breaking Back to Backs

Creating an Effective Meeting Culture

Breaking Back to Backs

Talking Ape
“The most important principle for designing lively virtual meetings is to see the design not as information design but as designing an experience.”

– Cathy Moore

The challenge of remote working is also the challenge of remote meetings.

Let’s be honest, it’s hard to get people to pay attention in any meeting, but when people aren’t in the same room, it can be especially difficult. The lack of immediate response via eye contact and body language can be undermining, as feigning interest can be taking to new levels on Zoom. But why does this have to be the case? What systems and values can be put into place to ensure that leaders and their teams create voluntary engagement? How do you structure a meeting so people want to participate and how do you make it so interesting that the time flies by? How can human personalities and dynamics inform how we chair and facilitate a successful outcome? This programme looks at the fundamentals of human communication, from building trust to human psychometrics and from chairing meetings to building energy.

Our meeting programme is run in four stages

Stage 1. Our programme starts with your meeting. So we prefer to work with intact teams and we make it energetic and enjoyable. We ask that you do not “prepare” for this meeting just run it how you would normally run it. We just sit and listen

Stage 2. We create a culture of psychological safety and ask you for honest feedback.

Stage 3. We then measure the team against six rules which research has shown that when applied can increase levels of engagement by 86%. We identify the weak spots and areas of development.

Stage 4. We return to observe 3-6 months later to see how much the team has improved. We also challenge the team to take these skills and apply them in meetings outside your direct teams.

The Five Rules

  1. Why have a meeting? Understand when to have a meeting and when to not. How to avoid them through taking time to think, one-to-one conversations and easy actions. If a decision is made to have a meeting then realising what is at stake. How to set up to succeed through agendas and pre-reads that work. At all times being clear on the meeting purpose to share ideas, make decisions or connect.
  2. Keeping the energy flowing. Energy keeps focus and helps the time pass quickly. From effective openings to productive check-ins. The art of chairing and managing introverts and extroverts. The 5-minute rule. Do not speak for more than 5 minutes without giving the team another problem to solve or an opportunity to interact. We explore the art of breakout rooms, using Mentimeter, voting, chat and whiteboards.
  3. Create values around your meeting culture and stick to them. Create an experience of shared responsibility, taking it in turns to facilitate, a no phones/email rule and total focus. Create opportunities for meaningful communication. Values should also be about psychological safety, listening, respect and whatever the team requires.
  4. Get great at facilitation. A good facilitator has an agenda and keeps the flow going. At the heart of every meeting is an understanding of what you are trying to achieve: to influence others, to make decisions, to solve problems, or to strengthen relationships. This drives an agenda, the content and the style of facilitation. Finally, a good facilitator knows how to bring in introverts and hushes extroverts.
  5. Decision Rights: who has the decision rights so a decision can be made. Using real life examples from companies like Amazon we look at how to ascribe decision rights and the impact that has.


£3500 for an intact team for the whole process.

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