In big, multinational corporations, many projects follow this pattern:

  1. Templates with extensive data request is sent out to all relevant business units weeks/months in advance
  2. One week before the meeting the chasing for data starts
  3. At the last minute, business units merge pages of filled out templates with existing presentation material (Frankensteining)
  4. At the in-person gathering, each business unit representative goes through page, by page, by page, by bullet, by bullet. Everyone is physically, but not mentally presentation (doing email, walking in and out to take calls until...
  5. ...only at the very end the hot issue that has been hanging in the room comes out and becomes the subject of a heated debate while time is running out.

You don't need the reading out aloud of data templates (people can read for themselves), but you do need a good structure to guide that heated group discussion. The time that people are together is better spent with identifying options and listing pros and cons.


Art: Argument over a Card Game, by Jan Steen, 17th century