I wrote some ways back about the launch of Inclusion Meeting Cards, a project from the Chicago based software development company Table XI. The game is a simple, tangible, non-confrontational tool for reorienting discussion, using humor to defuse potentially tense interactions like telling someone to stop interrupting.
It’s a super way to help teams to make better decisions by getting a variety of voices around the table, thus avoiding groupthink and making room for important perspectives you might otherwise miss.
But amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, all of our meetings have moved online. So I could not have been more delighted when the team emailed to say that they had come up with virtual meeting cards that you can use in your virtual meeting room background! You can download them for free by signing up for their newsletter.
Table XI CEO Mark Rickmeier and his team wanted to create a fun way to help people recognize the counterproductive conversation habits they usually don’t even realize they have. They felt it was important to do so in real time instead of waiting for a performance review when the guilty party is unlikely to connect feedback to a specific instance of that behavior.
They came up with two sets of cards. The “antis” help people to identify common patterns like people veering off track, speaking too quietly, going on and on about something way past the point of usefulness. “Anti” cards include “beating a dead horse,” “down a rabbit hole,” “interrupted,” “speak up,” and “off on a tangent.”
The second kind of card encourages role playing to change mindsets. For example, there’s a devil’s advocate card to encourage people to present contrarian perspectives and even disagree openly with someone in power. (If you’ve read THE GRAY RHINO, you know that this is something I, well, advocate.) And then there’s the angel’s advocate card for the team member who loves to pour cold water on everyone else’s idea: they are compelled to answer “yes, and…” both to counter their usual mindset and to make shy team members less afraid.
The Parking Lot Attendant helps keep meetings on topic by “parking” on a white board or Post-It note any ideas that might be relevant in other contexts.
Since the initial set of cards was released, the Table XI team has come up with new Role Assignment cards, including Time Keeper and Attendee Advocate. I love the “Meeting Toddler” role for the team member who is assigned to ask the questions others might be afraid to ask for fear of sounding naive or stupid. Those questions often turn out to be the most powerful ones.
They’ve added new Red-Flag cards, including the “Jargon” card to protest when people throw around acronyms and terms that no one understands.
Finally, they have created Coaching Cards – an entirely new kind of card listing several facilitation techniques to try with a team to encourage more voices to be heard in your design and product workshops.
Read more HERE on how to use the cards to make your meetings more effective.
Inclusion Meeting Cards are available at https://www.meetingsdoneright.co/
#gamification #diversity #inclusion #decisions #teamwork #leadership
This article is part of my LinkedIn newsletter series, “Around My Mind” – a regular walk through the ideas, events, people, and places that kick my synapses into action, sparking sometimes surprising or counter-intuitive connections.
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