Nebulous Meetings (Nebeets)

August 21st, 2015 by Winnie Armah

I have been to quite a few meetings of late with no real detailed agenda. Whilst all the participants have a broad idea of what will be discussed, no one is absolutely clear about where the conversations will lead. I call them ‘Nebeets (nebulous meetings).

Going back to my memory bank, this goes against all I’ve learnt in the professional world – ask yourself if you need to be in that meeting, have a clear agenda, what is your contribution, do your homework before the meeting, be clear about what the objectives and outcomes of the meeting. I’ve had many such meetings and they have been great. We got what we collectively wanted out of it; the meetings were efficient and very effective – job done!

Nebeets have a different feel to them. The broad idea or general direction of discussion is usually about a problem of some sort – complex, multifaceted and unexplored - not a puzzle that can be fixed with a few pieces. The participants have a high level of trust even if it is a first meeting. The scientists will hate me for this because I have no research-based evidence to prove that there is trust, but all participants feel they can just come as they are, be who they are at the meeting and say what they need to say without fear or judgement - no airs, no need to impress each other. It’s the kind of meeting where you don’t feel stupid asking what ISO 9000 means or feel foolish when you gawk at someone using floccinaucinihilipilification in a sentence (don’t ask me to pronounce that by the way).

I have left these meetings with more questions than answers, but with a lot of energy and buds of ideas springing to my mind. The thoughts stay with me for a long time and sometimes become the catalyst for other ideas that then become fully-fledged and implemented. These meetings seem to be the genesis of innovation and disruptive thinking.

I’m a great believer in having structured meetings - they have a place in organisations. But I’m also becoming a believer in making space for Nebeets. Sometimes, not knowing the outcome or objective is the very thing you need to spark a new way of thinking...

Winnie Armah>>


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Marlo Haas I look forward to joining in on some Nebeets! Thanks for sharing Winnie.

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