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How To Make Meetings and Conferences Not Lose Your Will To Live

How To Make Meetings and Conferences Not Lose Your Will To Live post image

The videos and attendee stories from the annual meeting of the Canadian Society of Exploration Geophysicists make me wonder if I want to attend an American SEG convention ever again other than for the Women’s Network meeting and socializing. Check out Matt Hall’s and Evan Bianco’s writeup of the Solving Hard Problems In Geoscience unsession they held, especially this video. My Perfect Well Tie makes a cameo on a rather dapper-looking Matt.

http://youtu.be/9LdVVwUbiX4

SO. JEALOUS. Video, sharing, young and enthusiastic participants and not just cool new hipster stuff but more hard geoscience than you can bear (many geophysics innovations in recent decades have come from Canada). Forget another meeting where people show the same, staid, black-and-white powerpoint (same as the last five years with one new slide every year) to a dark room full of the half-asleep and video is not allowed to “protect intellectual property and the exclusivity of the participants.” What utter disregard for the audience, fellow members and the promotion of science beyond the room. Anyway, have you ever noticed that real science and information exchange happen in the hallways and bars in those types of conferences? Imagine if you can transfer that effect to a larger group all in the same room.

Offices, meetings, 20th century computing and attendant inefficiencies have started to wear on me as I get older. This is because I am one of those people who believes that the future means becoming a better, smarter and more wise version of yourself and all those you have worked with, and not just turning into an old hand. Efficiency motivates me because I want to do more things with my time and not less, and hour-long, sit-down meetings work to the opposite end. Incidentally, a meeting of four and only four highly-skilled scientists (and no managers) with a time constraint of three hours is best for rapid problem-solving, assigning priority and responsibility, and getting stuff done. Beyond four is an opportunity for “another set of eyes” to say something just for the sake of saying it. And that creates UNNECESSARY TASKS in place of NECESSARY ACTION. Hey, I’m all for science projects, but to what end?

Speaking of conferences, I owe you guys a Galacticon III and Comicpalooza 2013 rundown of events. For now: D and I made great new friends (still pleasantly buzzing about it on social media channels), Michael Hogan, Edward James Olmos and Herbert Jefferson, Jr. are lots of fun to talk with, Mary McDonnell is brilliant, beautiful and gracious and Michael Trucco gave me a hug. I’ll never wash that shirt again. Thanks, Athenae, for the heads up. Your signed Olmos glossy is in the mail.

 

2 comments… add one

  • Matt May 30, 2013, 7:18 PM

    “a meeting of four and only four highly-skilled scientists (and no managers) with a time constraint of three hours is best for rapid problem-solving, assigning priority and responsibility, and getting stuff done.”

    I love that. It’s good to have these little models of ‘what works’ I think. I like the idea of daily scrums too, though I’ve yet to try them in a consistent way.

    In contrast, the prevailing model in most of my recent jobs was more ‘a meeting of all the random people vaguely connected to the team, plus 3 people who I had to invite for political reasons, for one default-Outlook-hour but we started late and people chatted about the weather for 10 minutes and when we got going only 2 people had anything to say, and one of them had to leave early because of another crap meeting in another building’.

    Last thing: That tie is so awesome, thank you :) I feel like I should pass it on somehow…

    • Maitri June 14, 2013, 10:58 AM

      There’s a big open area outside my office that should be turned into scrum zone.

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