I have over the years published a number of communication patterns and anti-patterns. It is important to note that all patterns have anti=patterns. There is good and bad in all communication styles regardless of who and what you do.
All of us have bad communication habits it is as normal as being human. As we build and design teams and meetings it is important to consider the OODA loop approach to communication patterns.
Modify your orientation, remember that no matter what all patterns have anti-patterns. Observe the people you work with to determine which pattern they have (pattern) and the triggers that cause the bad (anti-pattern).
Triggers I’ve collected over the years.
- Sloppy meeting start either the meeting starts in a haphazard manner or is late. Sloppy meeting starts bring in a number of anti-patterns.
- Friendly (and lack of friendly greetings) if someone joins you meeting and you have a personal conversation with them, make sure you do the same for all people in the meeting. IE if it is a large meeting don’t allow chit chat.
- No notes after a meeting results in a sloppy start the next time. People need notes to evaluate what was said. Notes also allows people that can’t make the meeting to review what happened without causing a sloppy second meeting.
- Don’t restart – if someone is late so be it. Their choice and they can catch up off-line. resolve the issue by saying to them – thanks for making it, I will catch you up afterwards. Now, as we were saying…
- Lack of clarity or meeting mission causes people to lunge for the whiteboard – as a meeting leader take the pens and put them in your pocket – reduces the uncontrolled whiteboard session while at the same time allows a managed whiteboard session.
- Remote users that are physically located where you are, mostly likely are multi-tasking. Asking them questions is a waste of meeting time. They weren’t paying attention. Wasting time with a meeting or in a meeting causes a lot of triggers.
Politics can also be a trigger (if the boss is in the room you get a different reaction than if the boss isn’t in the room). Even the best run meetings have anti-patterns emerge. Learn how to effectively catch the bus of the anti-pattern and bring it back inline with the rest of the meeting. Head off the project pirate, lone wolf and other (anti) patterns by knowing how to step them in their tracks.
Smooth meetings achieve their goals. Sometimes a little argument can settle a lot of issues. Sometimes consensus isn’t the answer it is the impediment. Know the crowd and the patterns presents. Watch the triggers (and there are many more) and always remember if the goal is X, always move towards X until yu realize it cannot be reached.