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New for you: an easy way to learn about managing difficult situations and conflict in groups. Listen at home or in the car to Great Meetings! Great Results CDs:

Queasy About Conflict -- an hour-long interview with Dee and Pam on defusing conflict in groups.

Putting out Brush Fires --
a 5 CD set of 5 hour-long teleclasses on how to intervene in difficult situations. It comes with a downloadable workbook.

Click here to purchase the CDs or to learn more about how Dee and Pam can help you create Great Meetings with Great Results!

Maximizing a Groups Potential: Hearing from Everyone

One very important way to be certain you are maximizing the potential of a group is to ensure that everyone in the group has an opportunity to be heard. You need to collect the thoughts and ideas of even the quietest people in the group to get to a thoroughly deliberated, representative conclusion.

Have you ever been in a meeting where two or three people were doing all the talking? Sometimes, even though you want to hear from everyone, it is hard for the "quiet people" to break in. To deal with a situation like that, choose a technique that will give the quiet people more time to speak

Say, for example, you are moderating a session in which the teachers in your school have gathered to discuss discipline procedures that are/are not working. To get everyone involved in the discussion, you might say, "Let's take a minute for everyone to write down one or two ideas. Then we will go around the room and get an idea from everyone." Doing that will give all group members time to think the question through and feel more prepared. It will also ensure that everyone is offered an opportunity to add ideas.

Key Points To Take Away

--- You need to ensure that everyone is getting a chance to speak.
--- Make "space" for everyone by asking each person for his/her idea(s).
--- Give people more "air time" by starting with small groups.

This technique is also effective in meetings where you might have a mix of teachers, students, and administrators. In such a meeting, you might sense reluctance on the part of one group or another to offer innovative ideas. If there is lots of silence and little energy, you might try a small group technique. Say: "For the next five minutes, I'd like to have you discuss this issue in groups of two or three. Then we'll hear what each group has come up with."

By using that simple technique, you will likely find that people are more willing to speak up, share ideas, and think outside the box. Participants feel less vulnerable, less exposed, when they are sharing their ideas with a smaller group. As an added benefit, the multiple conversations will raise the noise and energy level in the room.

For more techniques for involving everyone in a discussion or decision making, order your copy of Great Meetings! Great Results today.


About Great Meetings

Pam Plumb and Dee Kelsey are your facilitators in charge of Education World's Great Meetings series. They are also authors of the popular guide to meeting facilitation, Great Meetings! Great Results. Together, Pam and Dee have more than 40 years' experience facilitating change and training meeting leaders.

Learn more by clicking the links below:

* Read biographies
Learn about Pam and Dee.

* Read a "backgrounder"
What will you learn from this series?

* See the Great Meetings archive
See past articles in the series.

* Visit the Great Meetings Web site
Learn about the book, training workshops Pam and Dee offer, and more.

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