Meetings and events – turning coproduction rhetoric into reality

| Linda Hutchinson

During a recent assignment we thought about a range of issues to do with meetings and events. We heard about good and bad experiences and saw that meetings were often a window to the reality behind the rhetoric of coproduction. From this we have started to create a series of tips to make your meetings and events a positive part of how you are putting coproduction into practice.

In my last blog I talked about the power of words and how they reveal so much about what the speaker really thinks. It is the same with meetings and event. They tell you so much about how coproduction is working in practice.

People can have a great experience, able to give their ideas, perspectives, energy and feel respected, included, valued. Or they can come away feeling their time was wasted, the agenda and outcomes already agreed, their comments ignored or unrecorded and they were just there to tick a box for someone.

Coproduction does not have to be grand gestures and long strategies. It can be the little things. Like being aware about how difficult it can be for people to travel or make alternative arrangements for their caring responsibilities; saying thank you and keeping people updated after they have made the effort to come and contribute. 

It can be about showing that you don’t believe that your role in a statutory organisation is so important that people must travel to you, not you to them; that your diary must take precedence over theirs; that your non-attendance means the meeting must be cancelled even if everyone else can go.

Meetings and events are moments in time of the arc of relationships. How they are set up, run and what happens after will impact on the relationship. The key is that those organising the meeting or event genuinely value those coming and feel they will have important things to contribute that would otherwise be missing and it is only by sharing ideas together that you will help shape a better future.

I love the concept I first heard from Chris Chinnock of Nurture Development, about having a party not a meeting. But if you have to have a meeting, then there are a few things to think about.

We compliled a list based on one we put together recently with Jane McGrath from WeCoproduce.

What would you add? Message us on Twitter or contact us with your ideas. We will update the ‘How To’ guide and credit you!

Photo by Sagar Patil  

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