September 23, 2021

Should that meeting be a Murmur?

Meetings are a hot topic in the world of work. There are too many of them and they generally aren’t very good. They’re also pretty ineffective when it comes to reaching agreement and staying accountable. And yet, we continue to turn to them as a primary decision-making and problem-solving tool. 

At Murmur, we believe the vast majority of working agreements can be created, improved, and committed to asynchronously using the Murmur Method. But, we also believe that meetings can be a helpful component in limited circumstances if leveraged effectively. The key is to look beyond your comfort zone and push yourself to meld synchronous and asynchronous methods thoughtfully. 

Here are a few scenarios when combining a meeting with Murmur might be the right call: 

  • Brainstorming: We’ve all been there - we’re either drowning in ideas or trudging through an inspiration desert. If you find yourself doing the latter, it may make sense to schedule a brainstorming session to kickstart your agreement drafting engine. There are tons of resources out there on how to get the most out of group brainstorming (here’s some advice from IDEO), and there are some equally great tools to help you generate, vote on, and organize ideas (we’re fans of Mural and FigJam). But remember: your proposal doesn’t need to be perfect to go through the Murmur Method. If your first draft feels safe to try, challenge yourself to go asynchronous and let the process work its magic. 
  • Controversial Topics: Humans are emotional creatures. Our emotions influence our perceptions, opinions, and decisions. If your proposal speaks to a “hot button” issue, you may want to schedule a meeting at some point during the decision process to ensure everyone truly feels seen and heard. For example, you could schedule time shortly after sending out the proposal to allow participants to ask questions as a group. Or, try scheduling a meeting after the Improve round to review and implement suggestions together before asking for consent. Ultimately, you’ll need to decide what will work best for your team. What matters is that you communicate clearly and listen compassionately. 
  • Stalled Progress: Sometimes things get sticky, and the best way to get unstuck is to get in a (virtual) room and work the problem together. Maybe the same person keeps objecting to your proposal and you’re having trouble understanding what needs to change in order for them to consent. Or, maybe you’re trying to make a major edit based on a participant’s suggestion and are struggling to capture the true spirit of their idea. Whatever the reason, if a quick check-in would dramatically accelerate your progress, give it a shot and see what you learn.