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  • Magical meetings (Weekly blog, 27 May 2018)

    Posted on May 27, 2018
    A blog by Catherine Leonard, Secretary-General

    I’m sure that many of us feel we have too many meetings. Or perhaps too many disappointing meetings? It’s rare to find someone who thinks they need more meetings. However, strangely I sometimes find myself in that category.

    My ‘I’ preference, which I’ve written about before, means I’m happy working on my own. But it’s often better to tackle some things as a group.

    To meet or not to meet?

    It’s not easy to get meetings right. We all know what we should be doing. Nevertheless finding the time to do the necessary preparation/follow-up is difficult. As is deciding whether a meeting is really necessary. Sometimes it’s just easier to schedule meetings. (How many of us put meetings in the diary as a prompt to DO something?)

    I’ve been reading a great book by Graham Allcott about time management. Well, it’s not about time management as that’s a rather redundant term these days. It’s called Productivity Ninja and I thoroughly recommend it.

    What Graham says about meetings: Eliminate the unnecessary ones and make the ones that are left productive, efficient and valuable.  He makes a good point about meetings not being a substitute for decision-making.  How often do we say “Why don’t you book a half an hour meeting with me and we can make a decision then?”  And on making meetings magic?  Check out the ’40-20-40′ continuum.  40% preparation; 20% meeting; 40% follow-up.

    Three meetings …

    So, three important meetings for me this week began with the Heelis Secretariat team.  Our brilliant volunteers Bob Gordon and Julie Thompson have met twice now with Jacqui Sealy and me to work on the Business Plan.

    It is sometimes hard to keep the meetings focussed.  Particularly when the Business Plan covers every part of what we do!   But we’re making progress and will be bringing some good recommendations to the Trustees later this month.

    International Conference of National Trusts

    The next meeting was of the ICNT panel. This is a small group supporting the hosts of the 2019 Conference – the Bermuda National Trust. These meetings are held by webinar. This week we got first sight of the fleshed out draft programme. It really helped bring the whole thing to life for me. There’s still more to do but things are definitely falling into place.

    Voice strategy

    The last notable meeting, also by webinar, was about the Sustainable Development Goals. Oliver Maurice and Anita Canovas are leading this piece and I’m so grateful to them both for their excellent work. We have surveyed the INTO membership for examples of where the are meeting the SDGs. We will present this at two events over the summer. Firstly at the the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) in New York.  Then at the ICOMOS Conference in Fiji in October.

    Many of our INTO members are quite used to framing their work within the context of the SDGs. Others less so. It’s been fascinating to bring these together to find common threads and outstanding case studies.

    Lastly, as we look forward to our Trustees meeting at the end of this month, here is a lighthearted article about meetings in different countries.   Do you recognise any of these traits???

    Thanks for reading!




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