Endy:Making group meetings more effective

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Goal: The aim of this page is to provide a space for ideas leading to more effective and constructive lab meetings. Please feel free to add your own ideas, comment on ideas already posted, or discuss current problems with our group meetings.

Important note: If you plan to write a comment that is directed at a specific person, a better idea would be to speak to that person. This page is meant for general comments.

Before the start of the meeting, presenters should specify how much time they will need

  • Rationale: permits better scheduling and pacing of the presentations. Say that on a given day, the total briefing time is expected to be 2 hours. If I want to present, I would concentrate on my most critical results, and only answer questions which are relevant to those results. If there are only 45 min-worth of presentations, I know I have time to discuss all my results without rushing and accept more "side" questions. It would also help the moderator (i.e. Drew) know whether it's time to encourage the presenter to move on, or whether we're ok with time.
  • Implementation: Ideally, this information could be added directly to the appropriate group meeting wiki page. For example, if I want to present, I could write, under the Briefings heading: FSP (20 min), where the time in parentheses refers to the time for my presentation and the questions/discussions.
  • The two above points would be great. It would be very helpful if folks could 'signal' their interest in talking at group meeting by ~noon on the day of group meeting (via claiming a spot on the Wiki). Presumambly, folks are thinking about if and what they want to say about stuff a couple hours in advance? I don't think that we ever want anything resembling full/polished presentations, but we don't want random stream of concious either. Endy 15:15, 17 Sep 2005 (EDT)

Before starting their briefing, presenters should explicitely say what they want from the audience

  • Rationale: Give the audience hints on how they it can be most useful to the presenter, making lab meetings more effective.
  • Implementation: Presenters could say, for example, "I'm going to give a quick update of my most recent work, but I want you guys to direct most of your questions/comments on the last part of my presentation, where I discuss what I want to do next".
  • Good idea. I'll try to ask folks what they want from the audience, if they don't say at the outset. Note that there are different sorts of wants, ranging from... "i just want you to listen so that you are aware of what I am doing" to "I don't know how to do this one thing, please help me think about it" Endy 15:17, 17 Sep 2005 (EDT)

Buy a remote so that the presenter can be in charge of his/her talk

  • Rationale: This is a relatively minor point. It would avoid the occasional: "Drew, can you go back three slides... Actually, I want the one before... No, the one before that...". More importantly, it gives the presenter the feeling that he/she is in charge. Since the computer would remain in front of Drew, he would still be able to help by, say, bringing up relevant websites.
  • Implementation: I think one of us already has one. Alternatively, we could buy one - they're pretty cheap.
  • I'll buy one Endy 15:17, 17 Sep 2005 (EDT)
  • I have one that sits in my desk. --Sri Kosuri 15:40, 17 Sep 2005 (EDT)
  • I also have one that we could use -- Samantha

Have a different person from the lab moderate group meeting each week

  • Rationale: Free up Drew from having to collect all the presentations, and coordinate who is saying what. Share this responsibility across the lab. Benefit... would let folks develop their skills in running a meeting. We could even use the same rotation and the food rotation (e.g., the week before you are responsible for food, you would be responsible for running lab meeting, or vice versa).
    • Week before, in that case it will also decrease the likelihood of forgotten food. i like this idea. --JK
    • I like the idea of moderating the week that you bring food, that way you only have one week each cycle for which you have administrative (food and moderating) responsibilities. --tmt
    • I think this is a great idea. I vote that we have food and moderating on the same day, so that we only have one date to remember. -- Samantha