Some meetings have participants who dominate discussion. They speak first or forcefully and “hijack” the direction of subsequent contributions. Other participants may remain silent or focus on their reactions to the first individual. The breadth of possible comments may be lost. Possible new insights and creativity are lost. Fortunately, you can choose a structure for your…

Dialogue can lead to more insightful and well-supported decisions. People feel heard and ideas are carefully considered. But effective dialogue is hard to achieve. It requires a respectful exchange of views. This can be difficult when the issue is complex and individuals have different stakes in the outcome. The usual way to create more respectful…

Small Group Discussion

Dialogue is a special, very valuable form of discussion. It requires being able to share and understand different views without giving undue weight (or reaction) to one view. I have written about its importance and ways to encourage it before (e.g., here and here), but it is so important to effective meetings I want to…

I have written earlier on my view of Robert’s Rules.  My experience has been that such procedures can hinder dialogue and commitment to decisions.  Sometimes, however, meetings have to be run under Robert’s Rules given bylaw requirements.  What can you do then? The board of this small community nonprofit organization was facing a major challenge. …

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