Stimulating Discussion for Productive Meetings

You need discussion in order to have productive meetings.  Sounds obvious, doesn’t it?  But how do you get participation?

Some key approaches:

  • Be sure participants feel that a mutual sharing of ideas and opinions is welcome and safe.
  • Ask questions that elicit a broad range of potential responses (not yes/no).
  • Protect people who offer controversial points of view.
  • Question assumptions that underlie comments.

Be sure that comments are clarified and understood in order to create productive discussions.  One other key element is to let people know when you want their participation by telling them, e.g., “I want to share some information then get your reactions.”  This allows participants to get ready with their thoughts so the discussion is lively.

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