Tips, Videos, Handouts

Answer the question

Good Group Tips


In principle, the most efficient group discussions are focused on a precise question and the most efficient individual comments answer the question.

When group members are unsure what they are supposed to be talking about they are apt to ramble about anything and are apt to spend group time advancing individual interests.

When group members answer a question by sharing lots of information that they think the group might want to hear or by showing others how knowledgeable they are, it can be hugely inefficient. When I have a question, I want only the answer. If I want more information, I’ll ask another question.

Practical Tip: If you are leading a group discussion state a precise question to frame the discussion. If you want a broad range of answers, ask an open-ended question. If you want focused answers, ask a focused question.

If you are asked a question provide on-target answers, or listen with interest to others.

When I answer a question with maximum brevity I serve the group well. On the other hand when I answer a question with maximum information or to convey my own importance, I might advance my own interests but at the expense of group interests.

– Craig Freshley

Click here for one-page PDF of this Tip, a great way to print or share.

Put the Tips in action for your group. Click here to learn about Craig’s Keynotes and Seminars.

People are complicated and colorful

From Seawall Beach in Maine Craig explains three negative consequences when we make “convenient” judgments. Convenience is over-rated, he says. Resisting quick judgments and holding ourselves open to all complexities and colors that might unfold has practical, long-term benefits.

Here’s a related one-page Good Group Tip that Craig wrote: Putting people in boxes is not okay.

This video has captions. To see them, click CC on the video screen.

Here’s what Craig says in the video

Hi everybody. Hey it’s Craig Freshley here.

People are complicated and colorful.

You know, it’s convenient for me to see a man with a nice car and think, “Okay, I’m going to think of him as a rich person.” Or I might see a woman with long hair and sandals and I’m going to think of her as an environmentalist. Or I might see somebody over here and I’m not really sure what gender they are so I’m going to think of them as a bit of a weirdo.

Those are of course overly-simplistic ways of me to think of people. And people are never just that thing or just that thing or just that thing. We each come from such complicated backgrounds and we have such wild and different experiences that I can’t possibly try to figure out just at a glimpse.

I might see a piece of your life — like a picture — that you have painted for me in a moment. And I might like that picture or I might hate that picture but that picture actually has very little to do with the whole complexity and all the colors that you have to offer.

I think that convenience is over-rated. We put people in boxes because it’s convenient for me to think of them that way. But oftentimes when we do the thing that is most convenient it messes things up for the long run.

When I think of a person as just this or just this, three bad things are likely to result.

One is, I’m probably going to be disappointed when I find out that my judgment was incorrect.

Number two. I am preventing myself from enjoying all the benefits and gifts that person has to offer.

Number three. I am likely creating a bad relationship with that person. They can tell that I am thinking of them in an overly simplistic judgmental way and they are going to be less likely to want to interact and truly relate with me.

If you want short term convenience and a quick solution that helps you move on to the next thing — and a solution that lasts only for a second — then make simple judgments and put people in boxes. But if you want long-term quality relationships — long-term quality solutions — then hold yourself open to all the complexities that a person has to offer. No person is either black or white.

Thanks for listening. I hope you help your group make good decisions.

Put the Tips in action for your group. Click here to learn about Craig’s Keynotes and Seminars.


Good Group Tips

In principle, how we look back affects how we look forward. When we look back at things negatively – finding only faults and things gone wrong – we are apt to look forward with negativity. When we remind ourselves of things gone right we are more apt to look forward with optimism.

Practical Tip: Whenever you look back at a project, an event, or a span of time, keep a ledger column for plusses. Take stock of things gone well. With every evaluation, be sure to acknowledge and evaluate the good things that happened.

And there is no need to put a negative label on the other column. Call it Delta, the mathematical symbol for change. These are things that you would change if you could do it over, things you intend to improve in the future.

This two-column method of looking at the past, plus-delta, helps us learn from past mistakes yet carry optimism into the future.

– Craig Freshley

Click here for one-page PDF of this Tip, a great way to print or share.

Put the Tips in action for your group. Click here to learn about Craig’s Keynotes and Seminars.
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