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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!


Intervening in Non-Productive Group Situations


Last week, we focused on intervening when an individual causes conflict in a meeting. But what if the entire group is having difficulty staying on task? In a non-productive group situation, use this four-step intervention:

  • Observe the group behavior to determine what is going on.
  • Name what you see, without judgment.
  • Get agreement from the group on your perception.
  • Offer a process recommendation for moving forward.

Imagine that you are conducting a parent meeting to discuss eliminating the football program. Even though the group agreed to the agenda and ground rules (see Keeping the Group on Track: Preventative Measures), almost everyone starts talking angrily and at the same time. This is a time to follow the four-step intervention process:

First, observe what is going on: Almost everyone seems angry and opinionated.

Second, get the groups attention, then state your observation without judgment: There seem to be a lot of feelings about this subject, and many people who want to speak.

Key Points To Take Away

--- Intervene to keep meetings positive, productive, safe, and on task.
--- Focus on keeping the dignity of the group and the individual participants intact.
--- Use a four-step process of intervention.


Third, get agreement on your perception: Am I correct? Look for head nods. If people disagree with your summary, listen to their points of view and try again to summarize.

Fourth, move on to suggest a way to address the situation in a way that is consistent with the agenda and the needs of the group: Id like to suggest that we break down into groups of four so everyone gets a chance to express their thoughts. Your task is to create an agreed upon list of three concerns about eliminating the football program. Then well go over these lists in the large group.

Following the four-step process has helped bring the group back to its focus and given it some direction that will help it move forward.

For more information about keeping groups focused on their task, 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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