Over the past few years I’ve come to really appreciate the concept of the “flipped classroom”, whereby students are provided access to the content of a course outside of class time, and class time is used for students to engage in more active learning, applying the content. There are many ways to do this – content can be provided via an on-line platform such as Moodle, or with set reading before class, leaving class time for activities which allow students to apply the information – e.g. labwork, group projects, simulations.
More recently I’ve come to think the same approach could be used to make meetings a lot more productive and enjoyable. Too often I seem to attend meetings where documents (content) are tabled at the meeting or where someone reads through a pre-prepared powerpoint, leaving me very little time to process the information and limiting my contribution to any discussion. As such I’ve made a commitment with meetings I now run to
1) Circulate any useful information to those attending prior to the meeting (preferably at least 5 days earlier)
2) Leave the meeting largely for discussion
3) Try and use a variety of different group activities to stimulate discussion during the meeting
So far the meetings I’ve done this in have seemed far more productive, and seem to elicit deeper discussion as a group.