Many discussions in team meetings and off-sites start off poorly because the person leading or facilitating the discussion doesn’t do a great job in setting up the discussion for success.
Because the set-up is weak, people are often unclear and/or confused and/or uninterested…resulting in them either checking out (at-least mentally!) and/or behaving (often unintentionally) in a disruptive manner. Consequently, very little value gets created.
To powerfully frame upfront, there are five key elements to cover:
1. PURPOSE : What is the discussion about? Why are we having this discussion?.
This helps to get everyone on the same page as to what is to be discussed and why.
2. PRIORITY : Why is this discussion important…now?
This is useful in getting everyone’s attention and even build a sense of positive energy and anticipation.
3. PRODUCT : What is the “end-in-mind-deliverable” we want by the time we finish?
This creates an image in everyone’s mind as to what success would look like.
4. PROCESS : How do I plan to run this?
This provides the audience with certainty on the approach to the discussions, and thereby reduces anxiety.
5. PARTICIPATION : What do I need from you?
This explicitly helps to set-up the audience for success.
Finally, once you’ve covered the above and before you launch into the discussion itself, it is worth checking if there are any questions and/or concerns from people in the group at this point.
A final point : whilst framing in the above manner doesn’t guarantee a great discussion, it does vastly increase the probability that you can get off to the right start.