In business consultant Greg McKeown’s book, Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, McKeown asks this question: What if instead of always striving to do more with less, we tried to do less, but to do it better?
Like a lot of great questions, it’s simple on the surface but has the potential to change almost every aspect of how we do things — including how we plan and participate in meetings.
McKeown tells this story his experience being more focused on fewer things as a meeting participant, at an event that was jam-packed with opportunities:
“I was at a ‘King Kong’ event — the Latin America World Economic Forum. It was full of amazing speakers, back to back. After two days, I was experiencing meeting fatigue. There was not enough space to reflect and not enough space to connect with other people.
Then there, safe from another speaker, or another conference event, we had space in a great environment to just connect and talk.
So, instead of being consumed with FOMO, or the fear of missing out, I let myself be consumed with JOMO, the joy of missing out. The idea was that if I can just create some space, I might actually get more from my experience than if I just signed up for another five sessions.
So, a little abashedly, I went to the pool. This was an amazing three-tiered pool overlooking the ocean, and as I am walking through, I thought, ‘How is it I have not even thought to come here yet? Because I am so busy at the back-to-back events.’
What I thought was fabulous was that about 15 other people from the event had the same idea, and they were all down at the pool. We sort of laughed as we saw each other. We were liking that we all had the same idea.
Then there, safe from another speaker, or another conference event, we had space in a great environment to just connect and talk and explore what ideas were interesting to us and what each other had done.
That was an awesome few hours. I think that was as valuable as anything in the whole conference, and all it was, was space.”
You can read our interview with McKeown and about how meeting planners can practice essentialism at work here. (It starts in the middle of the page).