How silent is silent?

From: Manifesto by David Gasca

The Silent Meeting format recently came across my Teams feed (silently). I picked it up and ran with it for an online meeting last week. Here is a Three Bears* Reflection.

Baby Bear: There were five of us in the online meeting. We have worked together for at least 12 months with two members working together on projects for a bit longer. I allocated myself as the facilitator (with agreement) and started with the objectives of the meeting and what was not up for discussion. Each person then had a minute to express ideas or their contribution so far.

Father Bear: The Table Read for this meeting was an academic paper that we are trying to collaboratively write. We had a draft to read and comment on. This was in Teams Wiki which has an easy commenting feature that shows who said what and allowed threaded replies.

As a facilitator, I needed to reign people in from the talk-fest model of previous meetings. The bulk of the meeting 30 - 35 minutes was taken up with the table read. We transferred our attention from video images and talking to reading and commenting. Comments flowed thick and fast like good porridge and maple syrup.

Mother Bear: There was only about 10 minutes left for the last section of the meeting and this was not long enough. As the facilitator I found it difficult to synthesize the amount of comments in a short time. Even the first section in the wiki needed longer than 10 minutes. However this provided fodder for continuing to write the document asynchronously over the following days.

Online meetings always have the challenge of setup, testing sound and coping with locations or when the mic stops working. Overall, I would say that this format of meeting was very successful and matched our requirements. The silent read and online commenting allowed each person to express their ideas or correct assumptions by others. This meeting definitely progressed the paper writing in a collaborative way even though the end discussion was not long enough. A follow-up meeting will be held this week (non-silent mode) to discuss.

* No chairs were broken in writing this blog, no porridge spilt and no bears were left hungry.

Post Script: Goldilocks is running a marathon through the forests of the world.