No more meetings, ever!

Lessons from anthropology

Jitske Kramer

NO MORE MEETINGS, EVER!

If there is something that people do a lot and often, it’s talking. Consulting. Debating, Sitting opposite each other in silence, giggling, gossiping…people shape tribes and cultures in interaction and decision-making. And in doing so have developed many diverse ways, habits and rituals. Jitske Kramer travels around the world in search of these forms of discussion. To experience them, to understand them and to interpret them in the context of organizations.

Within organizations we consider that the best way to conduct meetings is with spread sheets, to-do lists and large rectangular table in the middle. Endless meetings in which many people sit out their time. That is why this keynote starts with the plea to never, ever have any more meetings. And then goes on to make a unique journey through many forms of meeting; the Quakers’ silent meeting, the Inuit song battles, the Greek oracle ceremonies, the marabouts advice sessions in Gambia, the Lekgotla court sessions in Botswana, the relentless apologizing during the Hara Kiri in old Japan, and the screaming conversations from post-apartheid South Africa.

Traditionally fire has had an important function in the cohesion and growth of tribes. During the day you have all kinds of conversations about the day-to-day matters: can you just do this, I saw your sister… these are transactional conversations in which we exchange assignments and activities, but don’t make any new discoveries together. In the evening, around the fire, then is the time for stories, doubts, dreams and asking questions. Together we think, laugh, cry and sing. These are the conversations in which there is genuine contact and in these connections there is deepening and renewal. These are transformational conversations. It is essential to have a lot of such conversations, and often, in organizations, and families. Once a year is not enough.

You will never want to have “just” another meeting. No more meetings ever again, but light the camp fires more often!

Book a keynote or masterclass

EXTENSION TO A MASTERCLASS (FROM 3 HOURS TO A DAY)

During a masterclass there is more time for questions and how to translate the topics to your organization. Following the introduction, we will make practical use of one or more forms of discussion with each other. Refreshing, unique and effective as a completely different way of talking with each other about issues that are at play in your organization. We can work with very large groups given the right resources and location. A great way to approach the annual management day completely differently. And to create enough space for the real issues.

About us

HumanDimensions looks at companies and organizations through the eyes of an anthropologist. How do people shape cultures and cultures shape people? We travel around the world looking for ways of building strong tribes, safe for diversity and ready for change. And we bring our findings to the world of organizing and cooperating through our excellent keynote speeches, master classes and training courses. Deep Democracy. Inclusion. Diversity. Organizational culture. Leadership.

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