Meetings serve two purposes.
The first is obvious, to fulfill the aim of the meeting or conversation. The second is less obvious and is usually entirely neglected.
Most meetings or conversations have a pre-planned outcome. It may be to explore an issue, to make a decision or to solve a problem.
But there is always a second subliminal purpose to a meeting which we often overlook.
That purpose is to engage each other, improve relationships and foster a sense of community.
In Henry Mintzberg’s language to improve communityship.
This second aim sometimes happens by chance or in a minimal way, but it is rarely purposeful.
A good meeting address both objectives.
It is not just down to the convenor of the meeting or the most senior person in the room to address this second purpose though they should take the most responsibility it is down to everyone in the meeting.
Whether in a one-to-one conversation or a more substantial meeting there is always the opportunity for each of us to work to improve relationships and build community purposefully.
Credit: Inspired by the work of Peter Block.
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