Transition questions are highly effective because you cannot develop a plan, any plan, such as a marketing plan, by asking “What is the marketing plan?” The question is so broad as to be DUMB.
It’s not easy for participants to respond to broad questions like “How do you solve global hunger?” While appropriate, the question’s scope is too broad (and perhaps vague) to stimulate specific, actionable responses like “We could convert those abandoned mine shafts in Somalia and create food storage areas.”
Three Appropriate Yet Powerful Transition Questions
Extemporaneous leaders should develop a tendency to modify three core transition questions during meetings instead of asking broad questions like, “Are we OK with this list?” or, “Can we move on?”. Consider using more structure and precision by relying on transition questions with these three simple, pertinent, and clear questions that can be modified to your own situation:
- Do we need to clarify anything (eg, on this list)? (First test for clarity and shared understanding only, not necessarily agreement).
- Do we need to delete anything (eg, from this list)? (Next test for appropriateness, relevancy, and potential redundancy).
- Do we need to add anything (eg, to this list)? (Finally, scrub for omissions or something significant that needs to be considered in addition to what has been already captured).
The three detailed transition questions make it easier for meeting participants to analyze, agree, and move on. After participants have agreed they understand, have been provided an opportunity to remove something they cannot support, and have been challenged to add something they may have missed, you are prepared to properly transition.
The clarity and precision of the three transition questions demand more rigorous thinking and encourages the focus most people need to apply thorough analysis. Make it easier for your participants, avoid the vague, extemporaneous questions that results in the worst deliverable you could ever develop in a meeting—another meeting.
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- Using the Fist of Five to Test for Quick Consensus About Contextual Issues (mgrush.com/blog)
- How to Structure and Normalize a Discussion Around a “Many to Many” Dilemma (mgrush.com/blog)
- SCAMPER is a Mnemonic to Prompt for Excellent, Impromptu Questions (mgrush.com/blog)