Clear Communications

Rhetorical Precision and Clear Communications — Stress Substance Over Style

Word choice is most often used to solve for expressing intent. However, our languages reflect dynamic qualities change constantly. Between 1590 and 1610 alone, 6,000 new words were added every year to the English language. In other words, clear communication can almost be viewed as an oxymoron. Clear communications ???  “Enron’s document-management policy simply meant…


SMART Versus DUMB Criteria

The intent here is to illustrate the difference between clear, or SMART (Specific, Measurable, Adjustable, Relevant, and Time-based) definitions and criteria contrasted with unclear or DUMB (ie, Dull, Ubiquitous, Myopic, and Broad) definitions and criteria. An Unclear Business Definition (Example of DUMB Customer ID) “The ID of the customer” A Clear Business Definition (Example of SMART Customer…

Requirements Gathering

How to Facilitate Requirements Gathering (Primer)

When projects are accused of poor requirements gathering, the accusation is normally false.  The requirements gathered end up solid, but project gets exposed to additional costs because of the requirements that get lost. To facilitate any type of descriptive or prescriptive build-out of a process or series of activities, and to prevent omissions, use a structured approach…

How to Actively Listen Relies on Reflection

The Four Steps to Active Listening – Strive to Reflect Rationale

Active listening captures one of the most important aspects of effective facilitation. As an active listener, you feedback (emphasize, restate) what the speaker has offered to the group, and more importantly, why. Be sure to reflect the rationale, the ‘because’ behind the speaker’s main point. Active listening serves several purposes: Often, the participant is formulating…

Role of Session Leader

Both Facilitator and Methodologist: Role of Session Leader

The Role of Session Leader You have a multitude of tasks to perform during the workshop. The success of the facilitator’s effort is dependent upon your skill, knowledge, and abilities as a session leader. The role of session leader includes both the traditional role of “Facilitator” discussed below and the role of “Methodologist” discussed below.…

Meeting Problem Causes

How to Get Promising Meetings to Fail: Four Meeting Failure Causes

Sometimes meetings that look promising before they begin, fail unexpectedly. Four primary meeting failure causes deserve your attention. These four meeting failure causes sneak up on groups, ill-prepared to anticipate or mitigate them. Participants need your awareness about these meeting failures as their meeting leader and facilitator. First of Four Meeting Failure Causes: The Problem…

Increasing Meeting Contributions from Quiet People

Five Ways to Facilitate Quiet People to Get Them to Participate

Pardon the expression, but they say that a leopard cannot change his or her spots. You are not going to convert quiet people into aggressive extroverts who dominate a meeting. However, there are simple steps that you can take to increase the velocity of contributions from quiet people. Interview Your Participants, Especially Quiet People It is so important,…


How to Converge Your Brainstorming Input— Key Measures

Brainstorming‘s third activity, frequently called ‘convergence’, may take the form of decision criteria. Criteria or key measures can take different forms, as shown below. Purpose of Key Measures Here we define how an organization will measure its progress as it reaches toward its future vision. Defined—key, measures, objectives, goals, and considerations: A key is something…

How to Facilitate Ideation

Begin to Facilitate Innovation By Using the Brainstorming Tool

Product innovation provides a significant life force and has become a strategic priority for most companies and organizations. An IBM poll of fifteen hundred CEOs identified creativity as the number one “leadership competency” of the future. A new and remarkable discovery is that the ability to generate innovative ideas is not merely a function of the…

Facilitate Brainstorming and Get Out of the Box

How to Facilitate Brainstorming: Primer and Overview of Three Activities

The term “brainstorming” is technically a gerund, a verb that wants to be a noun. A gerund implies more than one step or activity. Brainstorming has three activities. To facilitate brainstorming properly can be highly effective. When done poorly, it leaves a bad taste in peoples’ mouths. Optimally, brainstorming includes three discrete activities: List (also…