Author Topic: Holding meetings in Second Life (some lessons learnt)  (Read 4625 times)

Offline mgaved

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Holding meetings in Second Life (some lessons learnt)
« on: March 22, 2007, 10:00:30 AM »
Last night was the first big formal meeting I'd been to in SchomePark- and I got to chair it. We had about 15 or 16 people there. So I thought I'd put down some thoughts about holding meetings in SchomePark, everybody is welcome to add their thoughts too!

1. The agenda posted on the noticeboard really helped me as chair to keep focussed on how to progress through the meeting. Big thanks to Woop for the last minute construction of this.

2. It's really tiring typing solidly! It was great when other people took over for a bit, gave me a rest.

3. With just typing, meetings take longer than in real life. It takes longer to get consensus, for people to argue their points. On several occasions we agreed that conversations would need to be carried on in the forum or wiki afterwards, there was no way we would get through the debates if we held them in the meeting.

3. Like any normal meeting, people chatting or wandering around could be distracting. I found myself keeping the "History" panel open to look at earlier conversations and frequently re-reading it to keep on top of a thread when conversations got complicated.

4. The IM channel is useful if you want to make a comment to somebody on the side without disrupting the main flow of the meeting but distracting, for example I asked a couple of members of staff if there was anything they wanted to bring up or if I'd forgotten anything, and a couple of people at the meeting politely asked me if they could raise a point  through IM so as not to disrupt the flow of the main conversation (e.g. thanks marbar9).

5. You need a system to give everybody their fair turn at speaking or raising points. Maybe for big meetings you need a second person to keep track of the agenda as well as a chair. We managed by just being reasonable and mostly remembering who had asked to speak. Wintermute pointed out that on one of the archipelago islands there is a 10 seat meeting tool - we should maybe try that next time.

6. It was great to see people getting excited by lots of the topics and conversations breaking off towards then end - but like real life meetings as the chair you need to be firm and get through the business, call "end of meeting" and then let people split into their groups to chat about what interests them.

Generally it was a great success and I think meetings can work in SchomePark.




« Last Edit: March 22, 2007, 10:03:40 AM by mgaved »
Teen Second Life: Mark Sparker / Second Life: Redmark Hax

Offline Fox Phlox

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Re: Holding meetings in Second Life (some lessons learnt)
« Reply #1 on: March 22, 2007, 10:36:16 AM »
Mark,
Well done for holding the meeting together - it was a difficult job.
It was also very intense - there was a lot of reading and typing to be done and it could be difficult to keep track.
I found it difficult to sit still and concentrate. Kept wanting to get up and move around. I got fed up with just zooming my camera controls around the arena. Obviously other people were having similar problems. I think an hour is too long - no matter how much business we have to get through.
We need to make use of the facilities that SecondLife has to offer and not treat our meetings as a particularly intense burst of texting or messaging.
We might consider breaking into sub-groups which will feed back to the main meeting, or setting up sub-committees which will report back in future or which will post proposals in the forum or wiki.
We could also consider voting by moving - like they do in parliament. For example - everyone who agrees with Baso's proposal, go and stand by Baso - everyone who disagrees go and stand by Trixxiee - anyone who abstains remain seated.
We could also consider breaking to move around. For example, there was considerable talk about the new community in the sky. We could have moved to hold part of the meeting there.
I think the role of chair is such hard work, that we should appoint different people to chair different agenda items.
And I think we should have some sort of activity at the end. Dancing was fun, but we could try out BMXing, or all chasing each other on flying cushions, or playing a team game. Some people might not want to join in with a meeting, but might want to get together to socialise and have a laugh.
Only the stoutest arm, the bravest heart, with a magic charm and a good head start can ever outfox the Fox

Offline PeterT

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Re: Holding meetings in Second Life (some lessons learnt)
« Reply #2 on: March 22, 2007, 08:46:41 PM »
I joined late - and must say I was amazed at how much discussion was going on (and how hard I found it to keep track of). Mark had clearly done a good job of organising who spoke next - with folk coming out the front and stuff.

Was interesting to observe some folk loosing focus and then doing distracting things (like letting off rockets) - given how hard I found it to follow I suspect others were having similar problems which might have contributed to the loss of focus???

I think we had too many things of the agenda - an OU problem?
We would be better having a larger number of shorter meetings - each focussed on answering one key question (I'm really into agenda items being a question).

Maybe we should also experiment with pre-meeting discussions in the forum - so more folk have a chance to contribute - with someone having the responsibility of summarising the forum contributions in the meeting and them forming the starting point for the 'face to face' debate? This might then lead to a summary of the options from the meeting being posted in the forum as a poll that folk can vote on - or is that taking democracy too far???

PeterT
PS I was intrigued by all of the alternative models of governance that were being mentioned towards the end of the meeting - would be great to explore (which might mean implement) some of those for a set time each to see what they feel like in practice ...

Offline Marsbar9 Schomer

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Re: Holding meetings in Second Life (some lessons learnt)
« Reply #3 on: March 24, 2007, 01:37:56 PM »
sorry about storming off  :-\ was a bit annoyed tht no-one replied, and also I did need to do something else, so I appologise now, and thank mark for letting me take the floor  :D
« Last Edit: March 24, 2007, 01:40:30 PM by Marsbar9 Schomer »
-Mars

Offline mgaved

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Re: Holding meetings in Second Life (some lessons learnt)
« Reply #4 on: March 25, 2007, 07:24:41 PM »
No worries Mars, and very decent of you to post an apology  :)

That was the first meeting I've chaired in SchomePark (or anywhere in Second Life!) and I think everybody in the meeting knew as much or as little as I did. I think we were all learning together about the best way of sharing ideas and coming to agreements, and if you read through my post above, I've tried to highlight some of the main points. I'd really appreciate feedback and thoughts from folks on how we should best run meetings in the future (or whether we do away with them all together).

Thanks to you all for your patience in what turned out to be much longer than expected!

Mark Cabaret
Teen Second Life: Mark Sparker / Second Life: Redmark Hax

Offline PeterT

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Re: Holding meetings in Second Life (some lessons learnt)
« Reply #5 on: March 25, 2007, 07:35:12 PM »
No worries Mars, and very decent of you to post an apology  :)

That was the first meeting I've chaired in SchomePark (or anywhere in Second Life!) and I think everybody in the meeting knew as much or as little as I did. I think we were all learning together about the best way of sharing ideas and coming to agreements, and if you read through my post above, I've tried to highlight some of the main points. I'd really appreciate feedback and thoughts from folks on how we should best run meetings in the future (or whether we do away with them all together).

Thanks to you all for your patience in what turned out to be much longer than expected!

Takes a big person to apologies in public like that Mars - good on you. Like Mark says we are all learning - and the best way to learn is to make mistakes and then reflect on how to avoid making the same ones in the future.

I recon we should definitely keep on holding meetings in Schome Park - I think we learnt a lot from the last one - and made some important decisions. We do need to keep experimenting with ways of organising turn taking and ensuring that people have a chance to contribute and for their contributions to be listened to and built upon.

I think one of the key things I took away from the last meeting was the need to keep the agenda quite short and focussed - don't try to solve too many issues in one meeting - better to have two shorter meetings than one very long one.

Incidentally I was incredibly impressed by the way in which all the participants in the building meeting engaged in it - sophisticated and mature problem focussed discussion. Stunning - and a great base on which to build our expertise in holding meetings and making decisions within the Schome Park community.

PeterT