If you can ask questions that get people talking, your meetings will be more lively and interesting. They can transform from Information Delivery Systems to Idea Generation Sessions.

We have all sat in meetings or presentations — whether in person or online — where the general cadence was:

  • Information, information, Information…
  • Does anyone have any questions?
  • Data, data, data…
  • Does anyone have any questions?
  • Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah…
  • Does anyone have any questions?

In other words, meetings that could have just been a memo or a PowerPoint presentation.

We can ask better questions

While it might not always be possible for people to break into small groups, do some writing, or take part in other strategies that can evoke creativity and higher level thinking, it IS possible to ask questions (when facilitating a meeting) that evoke conversation.

  • That’s interesting… can you talk more about that?
  • We are thinking about Plan A v. Plan B — what are the advantages of each?
  • Do you prefer X or Y?
  • We have to prioritize A, B, or C — how do you suggest we do it?
  • What does this remind you of?
  • What surprises you about this?
  • How is this different from what you’ve heard before?
  • What is the most exciting/most disappointing element of this?
  • What challenges do you foresee?

Use the brain trust you’ve convened

Remember: When people are gathered together, there’s a brain trust in the room (or, the virtual room). It’s a shame not to take advantage of that. Even if you have a lot of information to share, take advantage of the opportunity to get feedback, deeper insights, and new ideas by asking better questions.

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