Communication

Start with a question

Good Group Tips

In principle, when I enter into a discussion with a statement rather than a question I am presuming to already know all the answers. Most conflicts are due to misunderstanding so when my opinion is based on presumption I am probably headed for conflict.

When I begin a discussion with a question I show respect for others, that I want to hear what they have to say. The longer I remain truly open-minded the greater the chances that my opinion is based on complete understanding.

Practical Tip: Even though you might have an opinion forming in your head, hold off expressing it and start with questions instead. Be genuinely open to changing your opinion based on new things you learn. Good questions start with “why”, “how” and “what.” Good questions are open ended. Examples: “Why do you think that? How has it worked well in the past? What do you think is the cause of the problem?”

When I start with a question I am less threatening to others, I am more likely to develop a well-informed opinion, and I increase prospects for avoiding conflict entirely.

– 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.

Men, Make Room

In this short video Craig explains that men have a responsibility to help women be heard.

That is, if you want good group decisions.

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. Now I know that there is a danger in categorical judgments, but I’m going to make one because this is something that I have seen over and over again in my meetings.

Men tend to talk more. Women tend to defer more. I bet that if you tracked the data in the last 100 meetings that I have been in……let’s say you looked at the proportion of men and women in each of those meetings and if you looked at the proportion of time of men talking and women talking, you would find that a disproportional amount of the time is dominated by men.

Now if your goal in the meeting is to get your way, to get the whole group to affirm what you already know to be true — without even having to hear from anybody else — then yeah, you should be a bit of a bully. You should dominate the conversation, you should interrupt others, and take up as much airtime as you can with your point of view. But if your goal is for the group to make a good decision with the very best available information and the very best chances of implementation because of buy-in, then spend more time listening and less time talking. Make room for everyone.

Now if you’re a man you might be thinking, “Well, if women don’t speak up that’s their fault; it’s their responsibility.” But I don’t think that’s entirely true. I think it’s a shared responsibility like pregnancy is a shared responsibility.

If you are a man in a meeting and you are thinking about making a comment — you know exactly what you want to say and you’re about to jump in — I’m encouraging you to pause, look around the room, especially at the women in the room, and give a chance for one of those women to take your turn. When I’m on my best behavior that’s what I do and I have found that the benefits are pretty amazing.

Men, make room. It will help your group make good decisions.

Thanks for listening everybody.

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

What is a vision statement?

Confusion often emerges around vision statements: is it a vision for what we want our organization to look like in the future, or a vision for what we want the world to look like (the world in which we are working) in the future? In this video Craig encourages clearing up vision statement confusion at the outset of any long-term planning process.

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 organizations, such as nonprofits or corporations, either have or think that they should have a vision statement.

What is a vision statement? One way of thinking of a vision statement is that it’s a depiction of how we envision the organization to be in the future. It’s a description of the future organization. But there’s another way of thinking of a vision statement, and that is as a depiction of the world as we’d like it to be.

These are two very different ways. And as I work with organizations doing strategic planning or any kind of long-term planning, there’s often confusion about what we mean by a vision statement. My main message here is: decide at the outset which of these two versions of a vision statement you’re going for. I don’t think that either one is wrong.

I will tell you that my preference is for the one that describes the world in which we would like to operate. If you are an organization working on the revitalization of a downtown, your vision statement describes – ideally – what you would like that downtown to be like. And then it’s the mission statement that describes what your organization is going to do about it.

Just be thoughtful from the outset about what you mean when you say a vision statement.

I hope this helps your group make good decisions.

Put the Tips in action for your group. Click here to learn about Craig’s Keynotes and Seminars.
1 2 3 17