Handling Group Dynamics

“Meetings are indispensable when you don’t want to do anything” JK Gailbraith Economist Meetings can be notorious time wasters. This doesn’t mean that the team is incompetent or that the topics are unimportant. What it sometimes comes down to is the group dynamic. Even the most effective meeting organisers may be so focused on the technical aspects of the agenda that they forget to prepare to handle the group dynamic. Here are a few tips and reminders to help set the right tone and manage the discussion. The Opening Question Consider changing the way you start a meeting with your team. Instead of going straight to the first item on the agenda – which is usually an update or the minutes of the previous meeting – kick off with something that surprises people, yet gets things moving in the right direction. Make a conscious effort to set the tone, examine the key purpose and stimulate creativity. Present your opening question in a way that encourages discussion, requires people to think a bit and expect answers. Of course, consider the context of the meeting but you might ask something like “How can we increase sales by 10 percent in the next three months without increasing costs?” Multiple Points of View Meetings are not just a forum to share information or give individuals a platform to express their views. They should be used to prompt clearer or broader thinking and enhance problem solving. During a meeting, try to get the participants to comment and build on what others have to say. Draw everyone into the discussion by asking whether they have...