17:00 on the dot, and I am ready to go. My first meeting with the partners is scheduled to begin now. PowerPoint up, posters on the wall, post-its and pens all counted out. Banana bread baked and fresh out of the oven, refreshments on the table and ready to serve.
17:07, still waiting for everyone (or anyone) to appear ready to start. My workshop invitees are present, but in another room still locked in conversation.
17:24, I receive confirmation that we are waiting for the last partner to show up so that we can begin.
17:46, last participant arrives.
18:00, an hour late and we’re just getting starting. Odds are already not in our favor for getting through the agenda I had planned out.
18:11, PowerPoint launched and we’re getting into content, just when it’s decided that we should call a few more people in to come and listen, too.
18:20, Take 2; we try again with everybody present now.
18:30, and we’re still on Slide 1. First quote and we’ve already started a good debate. But we’ll try to put discussion on pause until we can get through the presentation of content…
19:12, holding comments doesn’t work so well with so many creative minds in one room. Let’s just put the PowerPoint on hold for now and go to the next activity.
19:40, abandon agenda, forget the planned activities, try to skip to the decisions that need to be made.
20:27, meeting adjourned. Halfway through the PowerPoint, banana bread all gone, posters still blank, questions raised but decisions still unmade. But conversation started, ideas in the air, discussion to be continued…
Maybe it’s Brazil. Or maybe it’s just the nature of the topic. Most likely, it’s a combination of both.
Frustrating? A little bit. Productive? Not so much. But a step forward? Yes. And I guess they liked it, too, (and they certainly loved the banana bread) because they’ve asked me to represent the PowerPoint on Thursday so that can hear it all again and have a chance to see the rest. So here we go; let’s try again. But maybe this time we’ll do without an agenda…
This post was originally written on Monday, September 9, 2013.