Reinventing Meetings: The Ultimate Collaboration Tool

How to Design Meetings and Events that Build Brands and Relationships, Change Cultures, and Get Things Done
Customized and Delivered to you by Mary Boone, The Leader in High Performance Collaboration and Engagement


Keynote Photo

Suggested Target Audience(s)
All business professionals, corporations and organizations that rely on meetings and events – internal, external, large, small, virtual, “hybrid” or face-to-face – to drive business growth

Suggested Delivery Formats

  • One-hour speech
  • Two-hour or full day workshop

All speeches and workshops are:

  • Augmented by virtual pre-work and follow-up activities
  • Individually customized to meet very specific client objectives

Topic Summary - Download a pdf

Face-to-face and virtual meetings and events are central to building relationships and coordinating work... Instead of simply holding meetings and events, we need to reinvent them.

Why do we need to reinvent meetings? What’s wrong with the ones we have? We bring smart people together only to have them sit and listen to lengthy presentations. We restrict their ability to freely share ideas except at breaks, and we fire PowerPoint slides at them like heavy artillery. Challenges extend to virtual meetings as well: Do you ever sit in an endless conference call while one person dominates the “conversation?” Have you been in threaded discussions that ramble on with no endpoint or purpose in sight? Mary’s session will give you the tools you need to put an end to ineffective meetings.


Some Key Content Takeaways From this Session

Unconference Formats

What they are, how they work, and how you can use them to improve your own meetings

5 Key Techniques for Making your Meetings Better

regardless of size or composition

Radical Ideas for Redesigning your Face-to-face, Virtual and “Hybrid” Meetings

The Importance of Designing vs. Planning Meetings

If you ever call meetings, then – Surprise! You’re already a Meeting Designer. The question is this: Are you a good one, an ok one, or a really terrible one?

How to Use Virtual Meeting Technologies More Effectively

There are a plethora of new tools and technologies available for virtual meetings. The question is: what’s best for your meeting? You’ll learn how to make decisions about choosing the right technology for the right reasons.


Meeting Design Elements Mary Incorporates into Each of her Speeches

The session will include peer exchanges that will enhance collaborative learning

Participants will have time to digest, discuss and react to the keynote material

The keynote content will be delivered in brief “chunks” instead of all at once


mary silhouetteMary's Stories of Effective Meetings

  • One of the most effective meetings I’ve ever seen was chronicled in the movie Apollo 13. During the speech, I show a 3 minute clip from the movie and explain the lessons it provides for developing any other meeting, large or small.
  • Technology giant SAP used a meeting to completely transform its brand and culture. I tell the story of this remarkable meeting based on a 6 month research project I co-sponsored with the Meeting Professionals International (MPI) Foundation to interview key players and chronicle this landmark event. There are some remarkable lessons learned that I share with the audience.
  • Meeting design is a new process, so I tell a story of how I have worked directly with a Fortune 500 company to reinvent their annual leadership meeting into an opportunity for transforming the direction of the organization.

Meetings: A Tool for Managing Complexity

Mary co-authored an article with Dave Snowden for Harvard Business Review called “A Leader’s Framework for Decision Making.” In it, they describe the Cynefin framework which illuminates why leaders are facing so many new challenges today. One of the best tools for managing and leading in this new era just happens to be a tool we’ve all had at our disposal for millennia – meetings. Well-designed meetings allow people to make new connections, share ideas, and capture peoples’ imaginations in ways that other communication tools can’t. Mary quickly shares this framework in the speech and explains the centrality of meetings to leadership today.


The Five Forms of Communication that should be included in every meeting

Mary developed the following graphic and uses it to help people think about the differences between planning a meeting and designing it.


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Mary's Work in the Media:

NewYorkTimesLogo large                  npr          msnbcLogo  
HBR industryWeek cnbc financial times


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