We all know that meetings can be a waste of time. We also know that sometimes they can pave the way for significant insight and innovation.
Johnnie Moore is looking at the concept of "presence" in meetings and whether such an honest position for participants yields better outcomes. I presume, of course, that the meetings are supposed to be collaborative and that you are working within (or trying to work within) a team structure.
There are some interesting approaches that can be taken that borrow directly from the theatre. Fundamental to these approaches is RISK.
For performers (and we all are, really), every performance requires the balancing of risk and the acceptance of trust. You need to trust in the script, the director, the lighting etc — and you need to trust your fellow thespians to perform well, say their lines, give you the correct cues and jump in when you forget your lines. But there is also significant risk … you are displaying yourself to the world in an unusual way, you have to decide how long to wait for a cue before jumping in, you can expect criticism (sometimes in print or web), director’s notes and a thousand other things.
Now, of course, the theatre has workshops and rehearsals, cold readings and line runs and a whole series of techniques that have been devised to support an actor’s performance. But then, the actor has to deliver a "true" or a "believable" peformance. In my limited (but intense) experience, this will only occur when the environment and the preparation is right — and that is when everyone feels safe enough to risk it (whatever "it" means to that person).
Just like in meetings — if everyone feels safe, then you are most likely to achieve a sense of presence or "being in the moment". However, there are also ways of using presence (on the part of one person) to breakthrough the politics of meetings. I will write more on this later (thanks to Johnnie Moore for starting this stream of thought for me).