This is part prediction, part prayer.

Multi-Nodal Meetings
Some of us, when we meet face-to-face, will be taking notes on our computers. Some of us will be taking notes on networked computers, passing notes, sharing and comparing notes. Some of us will be taking notes for the rest of us, on computers that are connected to a central display device, so we can all work together at the same time, on the same page. Some of us will be on networked computers, sharing and comparing notes with people who are not even in the same meeting room. Some of us will be participating via computer and speaker phone, via laptop and pay phone, via palmtop and cell phone. Some of us will be lurking online, dropping in from time to time, adding our instant messages the instant the message comes to us, hyperlinking off to some other virtual location, and then hyperlinking back with new information.

Multi-Modal Meetings
At one time or another, we'll all be on our computers, talking and typing at the same time, creating and filling in blanks, brainstorming and forming. At other times, none of us will be on our computers. We'll be playing games. We'll be learning from each other. We'll be mingling and singling each other out. We'll be writing things down on slips of paper and sticking them on to walls. We'll be drawing on whiteboards, on flip charts, on long sheets of butcher paper.

And then, at some other time, we'll gather our selves and our ideas and funnel them back into the collective database, to share beyond the limits of space and time. Some of us will continue sharing and comparing notes after the meeting, picking up where we left off, elaborating, following up, hyperlinking each other to relevant resources and even more relevant people, posting presentations and preparations for the next meeting. So, the next time we meet face to face, it'll seem as if we never stopped meeting, as if we've been meeting all along, and that this particular meeting is a continuation. As if we were on this long walk together, and sometimes we went off on separate paths, and sometimes we came back together, and all the time we were on this same long walk, this same amazing adventure.

And with all the modalities available to us, we will come together out of choice. Because there are so many other ways we could choose to meet, when we are with each other in person, we will be with each other as persons, as whole participants. We will be at our best with each other because we will be able to choose the medium that lets us get beyond personality, to the purpose, to the person. And it will be fun.

About Bernie DeKoven
Bernie has spent more than thirty years developing new games and technologies for collaboration. As Dr. Fun/Staff Designer with Mattel Media, Bernie helped create the team and the products that helped Mattel earn $200 million in the first year. He originated new game concepts, facilitated creative brainstorming meetings and worked with the entire staff to generate more fun at work. Through, a consulting, training and publishing effort focused on improving the productivity and effectiveness of collaborative meetings, he published Deep Fun, a book that business author Tom Peters has called "an ingenious blueprint for a communication and networking revolution."

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