Andy Detskas, Senior Product Design Manager at Strava

How to build an inclusive meeting culture

May 26, 2022Yellow Squiggle

In this episode of Lead Time Chats, Jean Hsu, VP of Engineering at Range, chats with Andy Detskas, former Senior Product Design Manager at Strava, about building an inclusive meeting culture.

Andy and Jean discuss:

  • Bringing an experience design mindset to meeting design
  • How to build an inclusive culture on a hybrid team
  • How to mitigate the risk of remote employees feeling like second-class citizens
  • Taking into different cognitive approaches when planning for meetings
  • How inclusive teams and meetings lead the way to inclusive design and products

Additional Resources

Try running your meetings in Range to easily facilitate more inclusive and engaging meetings. You can get started quickly with meeting templates for your next all-hands, project kick-off, or retro.

Takeaways from Andy

Get to know your reports on a personal level

"One thing that I've employed with my reports is setting aside time with them remote or in person that is not about work. We'll talk about random stuff in our lives, what we're up to. I had a fellow who was remodeling his bathroom and we would get together and talk about that. We also would do a monthly meeting where it was quote unquote anticapitalist time, where we would just get together and talk. We'd walk each other through each other's houses or show someone's backyard and what they're working on in their garden and stuff like that. So that kind of stuff helps to create first and foremost a trusting environment where we get to know each other on the human level. And I feel like that transcends the technology mediating those encounters, so you can go from that to something in person, or you can do that in person and go to remote, and it works in both places in my experience."

Take other people’s cognitive styles into account

“As a facilitator of meetings, one has to be careful about the bias of their own cognitive style and create space for other cognitive styles to exist. And sometimes that means lengthening a meeting from the default 50 minutes or the default 25 minutes to 90 minutes or a couple hours to provide those spaces for different cognitive styles to play and come to an understanding of the work. It also tends to create more space just to think and breathe and not have this harried approach to meetings that you just feel like you're constantly hustling and rushing.”

Design meetings based on who's attending

“If people feel seen and if you're taking feedback, as you do these types of meetings and adjusting your style, I think that can help. It's not just about, I come up with a meeting and after 90 minutes it's done, and I never think about it before. There's a whole kind of lead into it and. Prepping people. And then there's what happens afterwards to honor the time they had spent there, whether it's synthesizing what we've talked about or having a to be continued in another meeting. It's really showing that you're designing for the folks who are going to the meetings, and that to me is the essence of experience design. It doesn't matter if it's not a product. People are coming into a space and experiencing something with you, so the more intentionality you can put around that, the better. It addresses their humanity and helps them feel supported and heard.”

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About Lead Time Chats

Listen in on unscripted conversations between Jean Hsu, VP of Engineering at Range and other leaders in tech to help you make remote teamwork a little bit less challenging.

Lead Time Chats is brought to you by Range. Range helps remote teams work better together — with asynchronous check-ins, integrated team-building, fewer and more effective meetings, and easy goal-tracking. When you run your team with Range, you’ll always know what’s going on — without having to be in back-to-back meetings.

Checking-in with Range creates more focus time for heads-down work, all while feeling a deeper sense of connection and belonging with your team.

To learn more about Range, you can check it out here.

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Andy Detskas on how to build an inclusive meeting culture
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