Remove the egos from Planning Meetings

4th December 2012

Deciding by committee is never good.

And when the committee is full of big egos, discussing how to communicate an important subject, meetings can often become less about listening and more about people waiting for their turn to speak.

There are lots of techniques you can use to combat this. Here’s a simple one that often works very well…

At the start of the meeting, don’t begin by discussing detailed content and approach. This is the area that usually becomes the battleground for people’s opinions. Instead:

  • Discuss the more important – and easier to agree on – three areas:
  1. What you want the audience to do after you’ve communicated with them
  2. The (max) three key messages they need to hear, to convince them to do it
  3. The (max) three biggest concerns they have
  • Write these on a flipchart. Explain that the flipchart has now become the most important person in the room, since it shows what the audience – not anyone in the room – wants to hear
  • Then, as you discuss the detail, any time there is a big difference of opinion, refer to the flipchart. As the most important person in the room, it will help guide what you should be doing.

Using a flipchart de-personalises things. It helps ensure everyone’s focus is on the audience, rather than the meeting’s attendees.

And, of course it’s much better than the alternative: lots of people giving their opinions, which usually begin with “I hear what you’re saying, but…”

Action point

Next time you’re involved in a Planning Meeting share this flipchart technique with them beforehand. As long as you all agree with the idea, you’ll find it helps you all arrive at much better content, more quickly.

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