I find some meetings I attend (at my own will and/or asked to attend) end up with no take away, no fun and with quite lousy feeling on my part. Whenever I find them not interesting (in terms of people who attend, topic, quality of discussion etc.), I discontinue and do not go again. Why? I strongly believe It is important for us to have some specific goal for our activities-whether it is meeting, seminar, class, travel, dinner/lunch etc. etc. You may think I am too structured/square, but I am convinced that the most scarce resource we can manage is time, and thus how we spend time is critical. One of the best ways to make the best of this scarce resource is to set clear specific goal for the activity and stick to it.
I am NOT saying that you need to have grand agenda and output always in mind for any of your activities. I am saying that you set a specific goal for YOUR activity. If you go to the meeting/seminar, your specific goal could be to speak up at least once, and/or ask one question during Q & A period. It could be to find some people who seem to be interesting and get to know him/her. (You can email the person right after the meeting) You can take notes and make sure you do something about it, such as incorporating it into your task etc.
Why do I say this now? It seems that many people attend (or almost forced to attend) meetings without any specific goal of their own. It is true there are many meetings with no clear objective and no conclusion to speak of. (In fact, there have been many more articles etc. written to eliminate these unproductive and LONG meetings, partly due to the need for productivity improvement.)
The best way is to avoid the meetings you know in advance of little value, but even if you need to attend these meetings, you can set your own goal for the time you spend. The worst is to be satisfied with the fact that you attend, take photos with smart phone and that is it.
Why am I writing this? I find people go to places/meet with people, without specific goal of their own in mind or takeaway after that. In particular, I hear many people are now interested in going to Estonia as they hear that Estonia is an interesting country for digital application and start-up. According to this article (unfortunately in Japanese), they are many Japanese “spectators” and “visitors” to Estonia with few specific goals other than being there and some in Estonia do NOT welcome them.
In fact, at our SINCA session this Friday, we will introduce Estonia. It is NOT going to be the simple overview of Estonia, but will engage participants and guests into the discussion on what specific appeal/lessons Estonia has and what kind of implications we can apply to us. So if you are interested in discussion with more depth & meat, come & join us. Here are details and registration.