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Interview participants to understand as much as possible about them, the people they work with, and their business.

To understand the political risks in meetings, speak with your participants. Preferably, sit with them one-on-one for about 30 minutes. Speak with each face-to-face, or at least by way of a teleconference.

Interviewing Questions to Ask to Understand Political Risks in Meetings

Political Risks in Meetings — Interviewing Overview

Political Risks in Meetings — Interview Sequence

First meet the executive sponsor, the business partners, the project team, and then the participants. Keep your interviews around twenty to thirty minutes each. Conduct the interviews privately and assure participants that their responses will be kept CONFIDENTIAL.

Political Risks in Meetings — Interview Objectives  

Interview the participants to understand:

  • To become familiar with their job, their business, and their expectations
  • To confirm who should, or should not, attend and why
  • How to help them show up better prepared to contribute
  • To identify potential issues, hidden agendas, and other obstacles
  • To identify scheduling conflicts and other concerns
  • How to transfer ownership of the purpose, scope, and deliverables

Political Risks in Meetings — INTERVIEWING QUESTIONS

The following are well-sequenced questions that you should ask. Begin each interview explaining your role and the purpose of the interview. Ask for permission to take notes. Use open-ended questions, sit back, and listen to the person—discover their value and value add to the initiative you are supporting.

Facilitator Style Questions

Interviewing Questions

Political Risks in Meetings — Interviewing Questions

Participant Selection

Optimally you should choose the best participants. The business and technical partners with the executive sponsor approve the list. The method works like this:

  • Ask the partners who should participate—make a list.
  • Have your executive sponsor detail who should participate—adjust 
the list.
  • Ask each participant who should participate—adjust the list.

When you have finished interviewing the participants, explain to the partners who you believe should participate and why. The partners will accept or modify the list. Once you both agree, have the partners get the executive sponsor to approve.


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Facilitation Expert

Terrence Metz, CSM, PSPO, CSPF, is the Managing Director of MG RUSH Facilitation Training and Coaching, the acknowledged leader in structured facilitation training. His FAST Facilitation Best Practices blog features over 300 articles on facilitation skills and tools aimed at helping others lead faster, more productive meetings and workshops that yield higher quality decisions. His clients include Agilists, Scrum teams, program and project managers, senior officers, and the business analyst community among numerous private and public companies and global corporations. As an undergraduate of Northwestern University (Evanston, IL) and MBA graduate from NWU’s Kellogg School of Management, his professional experience has focused on process improvement and product development. He continually aspires to make it easier for others to succeed.

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