We have a lot of meetings. It’s what companies do. They are required and there are always ways to make them more productive. However I noticed something in a Second Life meeting a few days ago that really made for an engaging reason to use avatars and presence in a multi user environment as part of a meeting.
How many conference calls, phone, video, chat varieties have you had the meeting, the call ends, then directly on to the next one. Sometimes someone running a call may ask someone else to hang on to chat about another topic. If you are not that person it feels rude to hang around, and equally you may feel excluded. In real life you tend to have to leave the meeting room with people, even if you are going to a new meeting. During those last few minutes human bonding interactions happen. People take off their meeting face and tend to be themselves, even if only their work persona. Idle chit chat, or off topic conversations spring up.
Hanging up a phone does not let you experience this bonding. So it could be we are losing something productive and effective when it comes to organizations and people?
In a recent eightbar and ‘friends of eightbar’ meeting in Second Life you can clearly see from the positions of everyone in the pictures below who is presenting and who is listening. We did this as both a telephone and Second Life chat meeting to mix things up a little.
When the meeting finsihed we quite naturally stood up and assembled into familar groups to chat. Not to waste time, but to exchange hello’s with people we knew, or wanted to know. Those few moments talking, openly in a room but ‘near’ our friends avatars meant the meeting completed properly. I could see the social groups around me, old collegues meeting again, people from Wimbledon past and present etc. There was a little buzz of chat and then we all went our seperate ways.
This seems an obvious thing? However like all good obvious things its not until its staring you in the face that you really know its right.
So many people at that meeting have commented on how it ‘felt’ better. That must make it more effective?