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…

Effective discussions can build commitment to decisions, but many meetings fail to do this. One reason for this can be participant assumptions about the nature of the decision. For example, participants may assume they are providing input to the leader’s decision. Meanwhile, the leader assumes s/he is gaining their commitment to the decision. You may…

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…

An article titled “Meeting Up” in this week’s Economist (April 4th) provides a good summary of research on challenges of reaching decisions with a group. As you know from earlier posts, I agree that how we conduct our meetings has huge consequences for their results. The recommendations for improving things presented here have an important…

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