This is the second in a series of posts where I cover tips I’ve picked up that have helped me attend, organise and facilitate better meetings. The first post covered attending meetings. This second post will cover organising meetings.
As designers working in a team with others, we know that a fair chunk of our time will be spent with other people – gathering information, generating ideas and debating problems – in forums like meetings, workshops or sprints.
With that in mind, I always think it’s crazy how we spend so much time learning about our design craft, yet when it comes to learning about how to negotiate the often tricky world of meetings, workshops, sprints or even informal catchups with our colleagues, we are often left firmly in the dark, and having to just ‘learn on the job’.
As ‘creatives’, we’re often thought of as messy or disorganised. There is something about the concept of creativity that intuitively feels weird to bind up with order and structure. A cursory google backs up this idea, with plenty of articles intertwining creativity and disorder like strawberries and cream.
Picture the scene. I’m sitting at my kitchen table at home, trying to unenthusiastically spear a piece of chicken with my fork. I’m mid-impassioned rant to my girlfriend, fork now waving wildly in the air;
“And I didn’t even get a thank you!! Not even a tiny, measly thank you, after all the work I put into that. They just don’t care at all. I can’t take this anymore.”
Rewind a few hours. I had worked like crazy all week to deliver designs for an important presentation. I had poured every ounce of effort into making sure we hit the deadline, suffered through numerous changes as strategies leading up to the presentation shifted, and had one unhappy girlfriend who had been forced into living with a extremely grumpy zombie.
The presentation was now over, and though it had gone well, I was left feeling pretty upset. We’d delivered, well against the odds, a really important, time-intensive piece of work, yet nobody at work took the time to thank us for our efforts. In fact, the converse had happened – our manager had gotten all the credit and didn’t bat an eyelid.
The sad thing is, that I bet most of you can relate to this story. Feeling under-appreciated or not recognised for your efforts by your team, manager or wider company is a common theme that I hear again and again, and that I’ve personally experienced in multiple companies.
Last weekend, I spent my Saturday at a tech recruitment fair, Silicon Milkroundabout, meeting and talking to UX and UI designers who were searching for their next role. It was absolutely fantastic to meet so many talented designers, with bags of hustle and initiative.
BUT! There’s something that I haven’t been able to stop thinking about ever since. Here it is: