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A blog by Corstian BoermanCorstian Boerman (self portrait)
Corstian Boerman
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Implicit vs explicit meetings

"This meeting could have been an email"

Pedro Ribeiro Simões Fernando Pessoa Triple Portrait (2004) - Julio Pomar (1926-2018) | Source:

Qualitative communicative processes are of even greater importance within remote based companies than they are in on-premise ones. As for meetings, a general indication about the quality of those might be the notion about whether the meeting could have an email instead. Over time most recurring meetings tend to grow into a chore, a predictive set of actions executed by people, hoping to get the same results previously achieved. Participation in those grows into a behavioural response, rather than a conscious attendance. The effectiveness of meetings fueled by behavioural mechanics is up debate.

Following this line of thought I would conclude that, in order to keep meetings engaging, behavioural participation should need to be prevented.

A general categorization of meeting types may be made between scripted ones (explicit), and unscripted once (implicit). Though the generally accepted best practice for in-person meetings is to have an agenda dictating the contents of the meeting, this paradigm might need to be switched around within a remote based company. Most explicit forms of communication which can easily be dealt with asynchronously, while this is much harder to facilitate for implicit communication flows. It would require a synchronous conversation, with conscious participation by all those involved.

I strongly believe the downsides of lacking unscripted communication channels are more important to focus on than the potential benefits of those. I fear that without those a company slowly but surely grows into a flock of people showing a facade of scripted, predictable and behavioural interaction, thus killing its vitality, creativity and sociability.

Hey there, I hope you enjoyed this post of mine. If you did, consider sharing this with that one friend who'd also appreciate this. Comments are gone for the time being, but if you feel like discussing something more in-depth, send me a message on the Fediverse, or just email me.

- Corstian