From Tomasz Tunguz’ The Secret to Productive Group Meetings over Video (with edits):
Say you want to brainstorm ideas for a new product you’re going to launch. Schedule a video meeting for the relevant people from sales, product, marketing, engineering, and customer support.
Create a Google document with ten pages, a page with each person’s name on top. Ask everyone in the meeting to find the page with their name on it and answer the question: “what are the top three features our new product needs?” in the first ten minutes.
Time’s up; hands-off keyboards. Coalesce the lists in front of everyone. By the time you’ve completed your work, the team has read the others’ contributions and is ready to discuss. The group steps through the bullet items in the remaining time.
I’ve participated in sessions like this for brainstorming, 360° reviews, project planning, pipeline evaluation, team standups, all kinds. Each session is remarkably more productive with video and Google Docs than in person.
(1) I love this advice. But the final step (“the group steps through the bullet items in the remaining time”) seems vague.
(2) One possibility: After the brainstorming, get the participants to name their top candidate from the combined list and explain why. I’ve found that asking participants to vote or to provide a rating (“How much do you like this, one to ten?”) helps get meetings to an actionable conclusion. See: How to end meetings.
(3) On deriving value from a meetings as fast as possible, see The antidote to bad meetings.