AccuConference Profile: An Interview with Al Pittampalli

This month I interviewed Al Pittampalli, the author of Read This Before Our Next Meeting: The Modern Meeting Standard. I read this book a couple of months ago. I highly recommend picking it up and reading it before your next conference call.

While the whole book is great the most fascinating thing about it is the number one principal to The Modern Meeting. "Modern meetings support decisions that have already been made," Pittampalli says. There are certain people who are decision makers and they need to first come to a conclusion and then assemble your teams to complete the processes around that decision. This principal is the cornerstone of hosting The Modern Meeting.

Every aspect of your company can affect the meeting. There is even a symbiotic relationship between a company's culture and the operation of a meeting. According to Pittampalli, "If you have an indecisive culture, you're probably going to have indecisive meetings. And if you have indecisive meetings, you're probably going to have an indecisive culture."

A brainstorming meeting is about creating and is completely different from what we think a meeting should be about. You want people to think differently in a brainstorm so you have to orchestrate them differently than a "regular" meeting - which is why you see things like games being played or even creative teams taking coffee breaks together. Changing the space or layout of where meetings take place signals to the brain that this is not the standard meeting and it should be treated that way. If you want people to brainstorm you have to let them know right away that the meeting they are about to enter is not just a meeting, but an opportunity to be imaginative.

The digital revolution has changed the scope and perceived necessity of the meeting. "The meeting has to change right now because it just can't survive in the new world that we're in." Pittampalli stresses the importance of using the communication tools at our fingertips.

Companies like AccuConference help play a role in the evolution of meetings by providing communication mediums. As a factory foreman in the 1940's, in order to disseminate information to your workers, you had no other option than to pull them into a room and communicate a change or directive to them. Now, with communication that Al calls asynchronous like emails and text messages, it's not necessary for everyone to be in the same place to communicate.

The role that technology plays in the modern meeting is that it allows for meetings to become a place where coordination happens and not communication. All of the communicating is done before the meeting begins and the meeting is necessary to further the processes of a business.

Pittampalli adds that even with all of the changes you could make on how you approach or host meetings, it means nothing without personal responsibility. "Teamwork is great and this idea of everyone working together is fantastic. None of that works unless there's individual responsibility." If you want to change the standard meeting into the Modern Meeting, individuals must be willing to step up and take on responsibilities.

I really enjoyed getting to talk to Mr. Pittampalli and so many of his ideas and encouragements are the same things that we suggest our customers take on when it comes to hosting meetings or conferences. While technology has made it easier for us to have a meeting, the reasons why we meet and the purpose of our meetings have to change.

If you'd like to read more about Al and The Modern Meeting Standard, I've included the link to his blog and book so that you can check it out.

  1. Modern Meeting Standard
  2. Read This Before Our Next Meeting

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