At Round Sky, our collective process tools tend to focus on the meeting space, at least initially. Why? Well, there’s a reason many people hate meetings! People hate when the meeting feels like it’s a waste of time, when their voice isn’t being heard (or noticing another’s not heard), and when they leave wondering what the heck just happened. Ultimately, we focus on the meeting because it impacts so much of the workflow – it’s all interconnected.
In my work, I tend to connect with meeting nerds! There’s a reason that many of us are total meeting nerds. The meeting space can be magical due to a mix of facilitation skills, processes, and flow that brings more perspectives out, abundance, participation, creativity, and group alignment. So much can happen in our meetings! Being effective and aligning is important of course, but so is connection, seeing each other, problem solving, and imagining! Sometimes, I hear people tell me they LOVE meetings – this makes me think of a good meeting flow and seemingly effortless facilitation skills where you leave a meeting feeling involved and ready to take on the collective work.
One of our past instructors, Jamie, often talked about meetings as amplifiers. Meetings amplify the group’s energy. For example, if the group is energized and you’re feeling in the flow of your work — that energy and movement is amplified in the meeting space! It can seem like you’re unstoppable (and you just might be)! If the group is feeling stuck and you’re kind of mucking through everything, then the meeting space amplifies that muckiness. If your group is feeling urgency, stress, and scarcity before you even get into the work, then meetings will amplify that energy. It will feel that you never have enough time, that you’re behind, and perhaps impossible.
In our work, we aim to use the meeting ‘container’ to not dampen any of that energy but to direct it. We want to make use of whatever energy is coming up and pay attention to what it is telling us about where we need to collectively pivot. There are lots of ways to use collective energy. We find that meeting flows and clear participatory processes that everyone knows how to participate within and use is essential for working with your collective energy.
“meeting flows and clear participatory processes that everyone knows how to participate within and use is essential”
Processes help us to tap into the collective knowledge without guessing what people need to and want at any given time. It’s especially hard to figure that out when the group’s energy is heavier.
We use some simple, yet effective processes like collectively building the agenda through identifying tensions and using a voting process to collectively prioritize what gets attention. We also intentionally tap into somatics (or time to tune into our bodies) in our meeting space to get present, to reset, to repair, and to imagine.