Why Discussions Are An Important Management Tool

Discussions when run badly are a free-wheeling storm of pointlessness that go nowhere and eat up time and resources. Here there are people expressing their irrelevant and often emotional opinions in a way that does not help anyone or any organisation.

This is exactly the opposite of brisk, effective and efficient meetings in the workplace.

If managed well however discussions can be a positive component within a meeting and can cover a lot of ground very effectively.  This is something far more than a series of conversations or formal debate and used wisely discussion can bring about conclusions or deciding upon a course of action.

There are a number of components that need careful consideration however.

  1. Planning; this has to be done properly so as to avoid irrelevance, to achieve good open exchanges and to bring about a solid outcome. Ideally this should be set up by a number of people who will be attending in advance.
  2. Informality; this is essential if people are to give their opinions freely and with candour. There should be careful attention paid to the numbers attending and seating arrangements to allow the energy to flow to its best.
  3. Participation; ensuring all have their say. This is not easy as there will inevitably be some who have more to say than others and some will be more dominant than their peers. Where there are significant numbers attending the rule of Active Listening as Participation should be agreed by all.
  4. Purpose; state this right at the start so that all are clear on what the point of the gathering is. Make this crystal clear!
  5. Leadership; this is necessary for any successful discussion to take place. This is essential in large discussions where a note-taker is a sensible addition and a means by which to chart decision-making processes after the event.

Good Luck!

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