I had the great pleasure to attend a facilitation workshop. It was a 2 day event about the basics on how to run effective meetings. While there are many things that contribute to running an effective meeting, I thought I’d share the OARRS to help you improve your meetings.
One of the things that came out of this workshop was to set some expectations for yourself. While there are many things you *can* do to make your UX kickoffs, workshops, and reviews more effective, you might consider only choosing one or two things at a time. If these techniques are new to you, then gain confidence in one or two techniques and then move on to another technique. It’s hard to resist barreling ahead, but as I’ve learned in the last week, sometimes it’s best not to force the meeting to have all these best practices.
Every meeting should have an outcome. For a UX kickoff meeting, it might be “Clear steps for moving forward on the project.” For a UX workshop on brainstorming ideas, the outcome might be “A list of applicable and implementable ideas to move forward with the UX work for this project.” If you are working on a review meeting, the outcome could be “Agree to the design and move forward with any revisions and improvements.”
Note that the outcome is different than the purpose. For a UX kickoff meeting, the purpose might be “To meeting-and-greet project team members and start collaborating on the project.” This is why you’re running the meeting, but it’s what you hope to get out of the meeting. You can think of this as “What do I want to get out of this meeting? What do we need to move forward?”
This is a list of things happening in the meeting. You may or may not state the timing for each section of the agenda. For example, your agenda might have these items:
- Review the OARRS
- Brainstorm ideas
- Group ideas into themes
- List of Next Actions
The agenda simply helps you keep on track. If you get off track, you can go back to the agenda and observe that you’re off track from the agenda. Pose the question to the meeting attendees as to how the meeting might progress. It’s not up to you to solve the problem of the agenda being off track, but it’s up to all the attendees to collaborate to resolve the agenda problem.
The Roles simply states who is doing what in the meeting. There can be a Facilitator, Timer, Recorder/Note Taker, Presenter, and participants. The only point I want to make here is that these roles can be stated up front so everyone knows who is doing what.
Ah, rules. Also called “Meeting Norms,” these things can help keep the meeting on track. Rules can include:
- Start and end on time
- Cell phones off or on silent
- Stay on track
- Have fun!
For a short meeting, you can make a list of the rules and then ask if people agree. For a longer meeting, you can list a couple rules and then ask people to contribute more. In theory, the rules should be agreed upon by the meeting attendees. This way the attendees can help enforce the rules – it’s not just you, the person running the meeting, who has to be the task master!
Post The OARR
You can write up the OARR on a big post-it or on a white board so people can see them throughout the meeting. If you need to refer back to them, you don’t have to move around in a slide deck.
How About That?
The OARR can seem pretty straightforward and common-sensical. But they can be hard to implement. If your company doesn’t have a culture conducive to OARR, you might be challenging company culture. I recommend picking off one OARR at a time, getting good at it, then picking off another one. This was the advice given by the instructor in last week’s workshop. However, having tried to implement all the OARR, I find it can be intimidating to do them all at once. Do what you’re comfortable with and grow from there.