Increase Meeting Productivity: The Idea Parking Lot
Many meetings fail at generating desired outcomes because of lack of structure. If a clear agenda isn’t presented, and followed, expectations are not clear and it becomes easy to divert from the original goal.
One way to help facilitate meetings that don’t get derailed is by using an idea parking lot.
The idea parking lot is where you put any discussions or topics that arise, but aren’t pertinent to the task at hand. This is sometimes called “tabling” the conversation. When you “park” an idea, you’re recognizing that the contribution is important but isn’t relevant to the meeting topic.
However, if you park an idea and never retrieve it, the person who provided the input feels devalued, often resulting in a decrease in performance.
To take this metaphor further, I propose both short-term and long-term parking.
This parking lot is for conversations and ideas that need to be retrieved in order to successfully evaluate or complete the team’s original charge or goal. This parking lot is often a bit more chaotic, as ideas are coming in and out more frequently, and can easily take up unnecessary time in your meetings if you don’t curb them quickly. With ideas that are related to the task at hand, but not essential given the meeting agenda, it’s important to short-term park the conversation to meet the original meeting objectives and then retrieve the idea shortly thereafter.
This parking lot is for conversations and ideas that need to be retrieved after the original goal is met. If an idea comes up that is an important contribution, but isn’t necessary to complete the team’s original charge, put it in long-term parking. Make sure the person whose idea is being parked knows a time and a place to bring the conversation back to the surface.
This general structure helps you recognize contributions from each team member, while still keeping the meeting on track and accomplishing goals.This entry was posted in Innovation, Leadership, Management, Meetings, Productivity. Bookmark the permalink.