What’s more important at a meeting: engagement or perfection?
To dance with customers in an act of co-creation: This is part of 37Signals’ secret. From their book to their blog to their clearly stated point of view about platforms and the way they do business, they invite customers to debug with them in an ongoing dialogue about finding a platonic ideal of utility software. They don’t promise perfect, they promise engagement.
—Seth Godin, What is customer service for?
Sometimes you go to a meeting where not screwing anything up seems to be more important than anything else. Such meetings often execute impeccably—and yet something is missing.
That something is engagement. When you’re obsessed with not making a mistake, how can you respond in the moment to the unexpected? To the guy who brings bagpipes to your event? If the Dalai Lama turns up unexpectedly? When attendees are helpless with laughter at the unintended consequences of a perfect storm of technical problems?
Engagement is the heart and soul of a meeting. Cold perfection is admirable, but inhuman. When you are open to the unexpected, and dance with it rather than fight or deny it, you open your event to the possibility of participant engagement around human imperfections and marvelous opportunities that are always present when people meet.
Engagement or perfection? Don’t promise perfect, promise engagement.
Photo attribution: Flickr user dancingwithwords