You Got This!

Meeting Technique: Speaking In Rounds

In our work as knowledge workers, there are only few things that are more despised and at the same time necessary as meetings. The move of more and more teams towards working in a distributed manner, has only made this more apparent. Therefore, a core skill for today’s knowledge workers is holding effective meetings. In this talk Benjamin gives a very short overview of a very powerful meeting technique, which is speaking in rounds. This simple technique can make your meetings not only more effective, but can also infuse them with more creativity and opportunities for building relationships.

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Thank you Kevin and Nathaniel for this great energy. It's great to hear what you said already. I'm honoured and grateful to be able to speak to you all today. A

s Kevin already said, I'm Benjamin. I'm the VP of Engineering at Bryter. At Bryter, we build an intuitive no-code platform which enables business experts to build and deliver powerful locations. What I think I could tell you all in the first few minutes of this conference, yes, I kept coming back to the theme of You Got This which is core skills needed for happy and happy work life. I think it is like an important addition that of course Kevin already added.

So, yes, I thought why not tell you a bit about one of the core skills that everyone at Bryter uses daily, and this core core skill is speaking at rounds. I'm sorry if that sounds a little bit underwhelming, but I'm an engineer, so I try naming things as they are. So capture, more spiced-up naming could be easy practice that makes your meeting suck less. When I say "meeting", this applies to all kinds whatever it is, really. It is really easy.

Whenever you're in a meeting with more than two participants, start by establishing a circle. That is like placing every participant on a circle. Yes, once that is established, that circle, the facilitator and/or the group as a whole has decided on who starts to speak, and the direction of the speaking order. You're already set, and the meeting then starts. So, from there, the meeting can be conducted mostly as usual, so, if you have a predefined agenda that you walk three you, or if it is a planning meeting, or retrospective, you can just go on.

However, and that is the trick: when speaking, be sure in speak in rounds. So, that means of course that only one person speaks at a time, and that you, so to speak, one after another in the order given by the circle ... clockwise, counter-clockwise, it doesn't matter, really. The second and very important part: if it is not your turn, don't speak. Instead, wait until it is your turn. While you wait, listen to what others are saying. This really sounds maybe like deceptively simple and obvious, so obvious, that you might be doing that already, and sometimes maybe more often maybe without giving it much thought, maybe thinking about it like deliberately, so once you start actually doing this consciously deliberately, speaking in rounds, only speaking when it is your turn, you will notice quite a few benefits.

The first one, again, may be a little bit obvious which is everyone has a voice. So it is not this kind of like highest paid person's opinion that only their voice gets heard, because everyone gets their turn at the speak and shares their thoughts, opinions, reactions, whatever it is that is being talked about.

The second one, the second benefit is an ensures that everyone has the time to listen, because you stop preparing yourself for interrupting that person that is speaking right now, waiting to jump in, and so you can have thoughts and you can have time to speak. That simply goes away. Instead, you can listen and pay attention to what is being said, because you know when it is your time to speak. Again, the circle.

Beyond those two immediate benefits, once you start using that practice of speaking in rounds more often, you might notice some more subtle benefits. The meeting is more shared in the group, like it is not one person who leads the meeting or anything, but, rather, because everybody speaks, and everyone really has time and space to listen, everyone's contribution shapes the experience of everyone else. And like I said, it's a subtle but very powerful difference to so many meetings where only a few of the participants speak.

Another less pronounced but nonetheless relevant impact is increased creativity. Speaking in rounds naturally results in everyone building on the ideas of everyone who spoke before them, so, if you do multiple rounds, it just happens on its own that you react and build upon what somebody else has said, and then you can do it again, and they do it in turn on what you said, so I think it is pretty obvious that these will lead to more creative outcomes.

So you see, as so many other things in life, and work, while the idea and practice is easy and simple, speaking in rounds also has a lot of depth, so you can just start doing it, starting out with a meeting here and there, maybe in a meeting of your team where you feel most comfortable, just trying it out, and seeing what works best for you.

Also, speaking in rounds nicely fits with other good meeting practices, such as every participant checking in at the beginning of the meeting, so and be to be honest, I can't recommend enough to you to try both of these practices of checking in and speaking in rounds together in the same meeting and in the same session.

As always, depending on the context, these practices can really get the collaboration happening in meeting or group on a totally different level, and when I sound like I'm exaggerating, trust me, I'm not. You might guess it already, of course, there have been very smart people in the past who captured this practice and exported even deeper than I did - *explored this deeper than I did. I only scratched the surface, obviously.

If you want to go a little bit deeper, I found the most useful and accessible resources are those that can describe the meeting patterns of socio-ocracy. Some describe it as ... most of the methods such as the circle method that I just gave you a glimpse of, really, is - most of the methods originated in the 1980s.

So, if you're somehow interested in how groups can work with more equal participation from everyone, and you haven't socio-ocracy, check them out, and see what you can do to make your work life more happy and healthy. I hope I started your conference with something useful, and maybe most of you are doing this naturally, but if you're not part of that group, and these things that do these things normally, me having told you about this concept now and trying it out maybe improves some of your meetings at work and as a result makes your work life more happy and healthy.

In if that is the case, that would make me happy. Reach out to me on Discord or Twitter, and tell me how it worked out for you. Thank you all, Kevin and Nathaniel, for this great intro, and I wish you all an amazing day with lots of learning and meaningful conversations. Goodbye.