In principle, when someone comes into a meeting or a negotiation with an already established position, it limits prospects for creative, innovative, win-win solutions. When I state my position on an issue early in the discussion, my focus thereafter becomes defending my position and trying to persuade others to agree with it. I might even get side-tracked into defending my pride rather than considering what’s best for the group.
On the other hand, if I’m able to speak clearly about my interests (what I would like to get out of the issue without attachment to a particular way of getting it) and I’m able to listen openly to others’ interests, we have a much better chance of all getting what we want.
Practical Tip: Focus first on what you really want rather than how to get it. If you are leaning toward a particular solution, peel back a layer, dig a bit deeper, and ask, “What desire in me does this solution attempt to satisfy?” Ask yourself, “What is my fundamental interest here?” Identify what you are really interested in, give it words, and speak the words to others. Listen carefully to their words about their interests. As a group, hear and understand all interests before crafting solutions.
In principle, if I haven’t tried to make something better or if I’m not willing to help make it better, I have no business complaining about it. Rather than stand outside the circle and complain about the decisions others make, I do well to appreciate those who are willing to do the hard work of group decision making.
In fact, complaining without contribution actually hurts group decision making because it demoralizes current decision makers and discourages potential new ones.
Practical Tip: If I am unhappy or disappointed with the decisions of my group (perhaps an organization I belong to or perhaps my government), before criticizing I should first be grateful for the decision makers’ efforts.
Second, I try to understand their perspective, how it’s different from mine, and why.
Third, if my discontent is real and lasting, I ask myself, “What am I willing to do about it?” I ask myself, “Am I willing to change my personal behavior in some way to make things better? Am I willing to somehow participate in the next round of decision making?”
A thoughtful statement about what you are going to do — followed up with action — is always much more effective than a lazy statement about what someone else should do.
Using microphones in a large group so everyone gets heard can be tricky. In this video, Craig explains his tricks! He even explains how modern-day microphones are like ancient talking sticks.
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.
A lot of times I do meetings with really large groups; so large that we need to use a microphone and a PA system, otherwise known as a public address system. My rule of thumb is about 40 to 60 people: if you have more than that you probably need to use a microphone.
When a microphone is called for, I like to use wireless handheld microphones because whenever I’m talking with a group, it’s going to be interactive. I’m not just stationary at the front. I am calling on people and I want to hear from other people and everybody who speaks in such a meeting needs to be using a microphone.
My preferred set up is a lavalier mic for me and two wireless handheld mics for me that I maintain control of. I like to get out and run around the audience and hold microphones for people. Sometimes I will let a person hold the microphone by themselves; and I’ve still got one to go take to somebody else. If I let that person hold the microphone while they’re talking, I circle back around and get this one. Sometimes I hold the microphone for somebody and whenever I do that I kneel down and get myself out of the way.
Using a microphone has an interesting effect on a meeting. It acts as a “talking stick.” You may be familiar with the Native American tradition of passing a talking stick in a group and the rule is that you can only talk if you’re holding the stick. A microphone is a lot like that and the good thing about it is it ensures that only one person talks at a time. And not only that, if I’m facilitating the meeting in the way I just described, I’m the one that gets to manage who talks when. The microphone can be extremely effective at preventing shout outs, crosstalk, interruptions, etc.
On the other hand, sometimes we want that spontaneity. We like it when people can quickly comment on each other’s comments, and if you have a strict rule that everyone who talks needs to talk into a microphone, you lose that.
Look, a lot of places that I speak and give workshops they have a house PA system. They have their own wireless microphones, lavalier mics, etc. But not always, so I went ahead and bought my own wireless microphone system. I’ve got two wireless mics and a lavalier mic and they channel into this receiver and then I plug the receiver into a simple 30 Watt amplifier. I take this on the road with me and this works pretty well for most situations that I’m in.
Look here’s just a few tips about how to use microphones in a meeting where you want audience interaction.
I hope this helps you help your group make good decisions.
In principle, when someone comes into a meeting or a negotiation with an already established position, it limits prospects for creative, innovative, win-win solutions. When I state my position on an issue early in the discussion, my focus thereafter becomes defending my position and trying to persuade others to agree with it. I might even get …read more
In principle, if I haven’t tried to make something better or if I’m not willing to help make it better, I have no business complaining about it. Rather than stand outside the circle and complain about the decisions others make, I do well to appreciate those who are willing to do the hard work of group …read more