November 30, 2019

Confusion and disengagement in meetings

The quickest way to cut through confusion or disagreement among otherwise amiable and honest folks is to ask questions.

Ask early so you don't waste time. But it's not enough to just ask clarifying questions because the answers won't always be clear.

Sounds like Human Interaction 101, and maybe it is. These techniques show up more when discussing outcomes and very rarely when discussing assumptions.

Meetings are called to discuss outcomes, not assumptions. But assumptions almost always need to be called into question too.

If you have clarity personally but you observe confusion and disengagement, ask questions and summarize. Someone must be aware of the group and be willing to sound dumb.

If you aren't aware of confusion or disengagement, start paying attention. Addressing doesn't need to be hard and is personally meaningful.