Meeting design, or meeting architecture, is a relatively new discipline in the conference, trade show and meetings sector. Meeting Architecture is a term coined by Maarten Vanneste in a manifesto he published in 2008. Vanneste's view was that the meetings and conference industry at the time was dominated by venues and hospitality, a conclusion he came to by studying industry publication advertising and trade show exhibitor participation. Destination and hospitality priorities far outstripped consideration of content and meeting participant experience.
Vanneste concluded that the meeting 'shell' is mature. Logistics and hospitality are both well established disciplines and widely taught, assessed and tested. However, he concluded that attention to the substance of meetings lacked professionalism and priority, leaving participants short.
While Vanneste's priority is the larger, formal conference-type meeting, his conclusions surely also apply to the small training session or in-house team meeting, or weekly company department meeting. How often have you sat through a meeting at work, with or without an agenda, and concluded that you have just mislayed an hour or two that you will never get back? Presenteeism is the only result you can attribute to the meeting.
This is not rocket science, of course. However, we have all attended meetings and conferences which have been owned, led, designed and presented by one person in a top-down, one-way mindset. Here's a framework to involve and prioritise participants and their experience.
Meeting Architecture defined:
Meeting Architecture is the discipline of designing and executing meetings and events based on measurable objectives in order to improve the learning, networking and motivation of participants.
IDEA: Meeting Content Objectives
Within Meeting Architecture, all content must be IDENTIFIED to fulfill these objectives for participants:
- Learning objectives
- Networking objectives
- Motivational objectives
Content is DESIGNED to meet these objectives.
This drives the EXECUTION of the agenda, content and delivery of the meeting.
Finally the design and how successful the execution has been must be ASSESSED and the results disseminated to the participants.
This seems a common-sense approach to more productive, engaging and enjoyable meetings for meeting owners, designers, presenters and participants. We will apply them in our Curious Cows Breakfast Networking meetings and post our findings here.