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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.

How to Be Precise with Three Transition Questions: Do NOT Ask “How Do You Solve Global Hunger?”

Three Transition Questions for Clarity and Precision

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.


Don’t ruin your career or reputation with bad meetings. Register for a class or forward this to someone who should. Taught by world-class instructors, MG RUSH  professional facilitation curriculum focuses on practice. Each student thoroughly practices and rehearses tools, methods, and approaches throughout the week. While some call this immersion, we call it the road to building impactful facilitation skills.

Our courses also provide an excellent way to earn up to 40 SEUs from the Scrum Alliance, 40 PDUs from PMI, and 40 CDUs from IIBA, as well as 3.2 CEUs for other professions. (See individual class descriptions for details.)

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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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