Monday, January 11, 2010

Evolving from enthousiast to pro

Most of us larp organisers started our hobby as enthousiast. We wanted others to experience the wonderfull world we created. But we all quickly learned it's not all fun.

In order to organise an event we often have a legal organisation backing the event, we need an insurance, bank account, accounting, IT and much more. Soon the hobby takes on the aspect of a small company (packaged inside a non-profit organisation).

With this organisation comes meetings and that's what I want to talk about today.

In the professional world I'm a freelance IT consultant working for a big international company. We have our share of meetings. And like those meetings in the larp world they mostly start late, have no agenda, have discussions in between, end late and lastly no summary of the meeting is sent around.

But since a year now I've introduced the Manager Tools effective meeting guidelines in my professional meetings. And the result is remarkable. My meetings start on time, have an agenda, stick to the agenda and the time for each agenda bullet, the meetings end on time (sometimes the meetings end earlier) and in the end I sent a summary of what was discussed and agreed.

So having made my meetings in my day job more effective I'm now trying to do the same for my larp meetings. A month ago I tried it out at a board meeting of Arrowhead Events vzw and it works :-)
We started 5 mins later than expected, but in the end we ended the meeting 5 mins later than expected. This means that we actually stuck to the meeting schedule and we didn't loose hours on needless talk.

Yesterday I was attending a meeting of the Belgian Larp Fedartion, BE Larp vzw. And it was what I expected it to be: starting rather late (30mins later then announced), no clear agenda (just a document was sent about what we would discuss), people talking amongst themselves, talking about one topic for more than an hour, etc.
Now, don't misunderstand me, what was discussed was important and people made some good points. But I had set aside 3 hours for that meeting and in the end those 3 hours were not enough. When I left after 3 hours only one third of the document was discussed. Meaning I missed 2/3 of the discussion.

I really think that if we would introduce the same standards we use in our professional life into our larp organisations it will really be a great help. I truly believe that the meeting of yesterday could've been done in 3 hours max.
It would already be a great boost if all attendees would start behaving professionally in those meeting. Now a lot of people were talking amongst themselves when someone was trying to make a point, showing a lot of disrepect to the speaker. Having the meeting start on time shows also a lot of respect to those people who actually made the effort to be there on time (btw: I was late, so shame on me).

If meetings always start late and run late you have the following result:
  • people arrive late, because they know the meeting will start late
  • people will just not come because their fed-up with how long the meetings take
  • meetings will each time start later and later and last longer and longer
I've received the proof that using the Manager Tools guidelines for effective meetings work. They work in the professional world and they work in the larp world. It all take some practice. And a little bit of courage to start those first 'effective' meetings on time, even when one 1/3 of the attendee are already present.

I'd say, check out the podcast and start using their rules into your larp meetings, you'll notice the difference.

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