About Us 

Women in Standards is an enthusiastic network of standards professionals who provide support, resources, and mentoring to promote business and personal growth.

Building a Strong Community

WiS members,

I am excited to announce work being done within the WiS to advance our mission and strengthen and improve the services and content offered to members. This includes development of vision and mission statements, business plan, and strategic objectives for 2020 and beyond.

To assist us in planning, coordination, and communication we ask for your feedback by participating in the below linked survey. The survey will assist us in better understanding your needs and desires for the organization and will ensure a positive trajectory for 2020.

Please click the link and complete the survey by November 25, 2019.
Thank you for supporting this amazing organization and the work we do.

Karin Athanas
Women in Standards

Please contact with any questions.

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Perfecting the Remote Committee Meeting

Life is busy, people are busy, it seems that every organization is hosting a conference, workshop, or event these days. All this can make it difficult to find time to host in-person meetings for committees. Conference calls and web meetings can make it easier, but lack of visual cues and distracted participants are just some of the pitfalls that meeting facilitators need to plan for and mitigate to ensure forward progress on work items.
Picture it, you’re in a meeting and have been discussing a project for more than 20 minutes when slowly the urge to check your email hits you. You look down quickly to your phone and are just skimming the first email when you hear your name called. You look up and everyone is looking your way expectantly and you have no idea why. If you’re lucky someone jumps in to save you, explaining what you’ve missed and asking the question that everyone is looking to you to answer. That person is usually the meeting facilitator and the fact that you’re distracted is totally expected. In fact, current research suggests most adults can only focus for 20, 10 or even 5 minutes depending on the topic and level of concentration. [1]
When hosting a conference call or web meeting, it is doubly difficult because participants can’t see each other and therefore, can’t visually confirm whether participants are paying attention. In these situations, it’s even more important for the facilitator to play an active role in reengaging participants, recapping recent conversations, and actively asking each participant for input.
When re-engaging participants, try calling people by name. Using a person’s name has been found to be one of the easiest ways to get their attention. [2] You can call a person by name, recap the discussion, and ask a question. Or include them in a hypothetical example. Both approaches provide context to help distracted participants understand what they’ve missed and gets their attention focused back on the discussion. Also consider writing a recap in the chat and asking everyone to review and confirm. Once you feel you have everyone’s focus, ask questions, calling out specific participants by name to get their feedback. This serves to ensure everyone gets a chance to speak. It also acts to keep their focus. When a participate anticipates being called to answer a question, they’ll spend the time thinking of their answer rather than going back to reading email.
Have you used a successful strategy for engaging your committee during remote calls and web meetings? Share you experiences with the WiS members using the WiS LinkedIn group. Or email WiS at with your story.

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The 20-minute Meeting
Meetings, campfires, workshops, whatever you choose to call them, they’re usually long – an hour or longer – and tiring. While we may never escape the need for meetings, new approaches to the traditional meeting are changing the landscape. Organizations have found success with walking meetings [1], outdoor meetings, and lunch meetings [2]; while those with remote workers, have transitioned to video conferencing and conference calls. The goal, to get more done more quickly.
Another approach many organizations are piloting are shortened meetings. Being anywhere from 15 to 25 minutes - these meetings have been credited with getting the team to focus quickly and keeping discussions brief. If a participant speaks too long or they venture off-topic, they can be quickly redirected by reminding them that the meeting will end in x minutes and the focus or topic of the meeting.

The key attributes for such meetings are that they must be limited in scope and typically require a facilitator to ensure participants focus early, stay focused, and accomplish the meeting goals in the time allowed. In standardization, there are a number of areas that would benefit from a shortened meeting. These include:
  1. Standups - short updates provided to the team on your project with time for Q&A [3] Great for working groups to provide updates and gain feedback on their progress.
  2. Proposal or pitch meetings – discussions of a proposed new work item
  3. Action item reviews  
  4. Roadblock discussions - Items or issues that are keeping the group from making progress
  5. Review of a specific section of a standard
  6. Comment adjudication – comments can be grouped by topic, section, or vote type and reviewed in shortened meetings spread out over a period of time between formal meetings.
So how can we get started using shorter meetings? First look at your meeting agendas and ask what can be broken up into smaller discussions and what can be handled via email. Next create visuals such as time blocks for each meeting topic on your agenda and keep to the schedule. [4] Finally, be ready to end the meeting on time. It might result in a lack of resolution for the first few meetings, but once everyone gets used to it, you'll find your team or committee adjusting to meet the challenge. If not, try further limiting the topics of discussion. This approach may not work for all issues or topics and trial and error will be needed to find the right balance, but overtime you might find yourself getting issues resolved more quickly and leaving the longer meetings for more complicated issues.


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When it comes to getting what you want, a clear strategy is key. Coming to the table ready to the discuss, evaluate and yes, even compromise are are all part of a winning strategy. For standardization you might be seeking an officer position and need a nomination, trying to coalition with others to get your voice or position heard, or attempting to reach a compromise with others. In all these cases, you're entering into a conversation with the hopes of reaching an agreement. Here are a few tips to help you in your next standardization related negotiation:
  • Using active listening, jot down differing opinions on a white board. Doing so can help you compare the options more easily and visually evaluate the options.
  • Have participants quantify how valuable each option is to them. [1] You might find that some issues aren't as valuable to participants as they thought.
  • Ask participants to identify why others might not agree with a certain option. It's counter intuitive, but can lead your participants to see the issue from different perspectives and help carry the conversation forward. For example, if someone says that the language should be written in a certain order, ask them why others might not agree with that recommendation. 
Finally, consider letting participants 'sleep on it.' While some are quick decision makers, others might need time to ponder the discussion and opinions discussed before they're ready to decide. Allowing a few days for consideration before asking for a vote or a follow-up meeting will better equip all participants to come ready to make a decision. 

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