Organizational Development Consultant

20 Techniques to Improve Meeting Productivity: #9 Shredded Questions

January 20, 2014

 “It seems as if conversations at our meetings always go around in circles. We talk about different aspects of the same question all at the same time. Is there a specific technique we can use that will give us some structure and control over this?”



The SHREDDED QUESTIONS technique outlines an orderly process for addressing a specific meeting issue or agenda item. This technique ensures that every appropriate facet or element of the specific issue under discussion will be examined thoroughly and efficiently.

Generally, the facets of meeting issues include:

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20 Techniques to Improve Meeting Productivity: #8 Three P Statements

January 13, 2014

“Even though I think I’ve been clear, my meeting participants often question me about the specific function and value of group activities. They certainly have every right to know what is going on and why. Is there a technique I can use to better explain what will happen, how it will happen, and why it will happen?”


What Are the Three P Statements?

The THREE P STATEMENTS productivity technique explains the focus, methodology, and value of a given upcoming agenda item. It informs your meeting group of what to expect and what will be accomplished from Continue reading

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20 Techniques to Improve Meeting Productivity: #7 The Bell

January 6, 2014

“I have trouble calling our meetings to order. No one can hear me when other people are talking, even with a microphone. This is a problem before we begin, when we come back from breaks, and when we are using small group discussions. I nearly end up with laryngitis. There has to be an easier way.”



THE BELL is an effective and simple productivity technique to communicate to meeting participants that it is time to reconvene. Using THE BELL can save your voice and make you heard above the crowd.

When to Use Continue reading

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20 Techniques to Improve Meeting Productivity: #6 Verbal Warnings

December 24, 2013

            “I agree that each agenda item should have a time limit but, as we get into our conversation, sometimes we forget how much time has gone by.  More often than not, our allotted time is gone before we’ve come to any conclusions.  How can we avoid this problem?”



VERBAL WARNINGS is a productivity technique to help groups pace their discussions.  This technique involves verbalizing how much discussion or work time remains within a pre-determined and agreed upon deadline.

Having time frames assigned to Continue reading

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20 Techniques to Improve Meeting Productivity: #5 Parking Lot

December 19, 2013

In my last 4 blogs, I gave you specific techniques for defining and controlling meeting behavior.  They included:
1. Introductions
2. Clearing
3. Ground Rules
4. Pulse Check

Next I’ll provide the techniques to keeping your meeting on track.  These will include:
5. Parking Lot
6. Verbal Warnings
7. The Bell
8. Three P Statements
9. Shredded Questions
10. Self-Management
11. Go/No Go

Today’s blog focuses on 5. Parking Lot

            “Our meetings are continually spinning off onto tangents unrelated to our original agenda.  We never accomplish what we originally set Continue reading

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20 Techniques to Improve Meeting Productivity: #4 Pulse Check

December 9, 2013

“I know that from time to time there is some skepticism within our group. But I don’t know how to identify which specific issues are causing the most concern and how much our success is impacted. I wish I had a way of measuring the attitudes of our group. Do you have any ideas?”



PULSE CHECK is a technique to determine the mood, attitude, temperature, or pulse of your group. It involves asking individuals to articulate their feelings toward a particular issue.  Their ratings are used to determine the overall pulse of Continue reading

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20 Techniques to Improve Meeting Productivity: #3 Groundrules

December 2, 2013

“Sometimes people act inappropriately at our meetings. They come in late, interrupt others, ramble from topic to topic, dominate discussions, are hostile to the ideas and opinions of others, and have side conversations. Is there an easy way to handle these situations?”

Technique 3. GROUND RULES

GROUND RULES, as a productivity technique, help establish and maintain acceptable standards of meeting behavior. Using this technique virtually eliminates behavior problems before they begin. When behavior problems do occur, pre-established GROUND RULES support your request for change.

This technique involves discussing and posting the resulting meeting GROUND RULES in Continue reading

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20 Techniques to Improve Meeting Productivity: #2 Clearing

November 25, 2013

“It seems like when our meetings begin, everybody is still focused on what they just left behind—their work, their weekend, their vacation, or whatever. It really takes a long time for us all to get settled. What can we do to get focused sooner?”

Technique #2. CLEARING

CLEARING is a productivity technique that allows the members of your group to clear their minds and focus on the meeting. It provides a transition from what participants just left behind to the meeting itself. CLEARING significantly decreases the time it takes participants to settle themselves at the beginning of Continue reading

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20 Techniques to Improve Meeting Productivity: #1 Introductions

November 17, 2013

Over my years as a meeting facilitator, I have identified twenty fundamental techniques for facilitating successful meetings. These essential productivity techniques provide specific, uncomplicated processes to define meeting behavior, keep meetings on track, improve the clarity of communication, and maintain maximum energy. Employing these procedures not only saves time and increases effectiveness and efficiency but also adds immediate power to every meeting agenda by eliminating time wasters, focusing discussions, expanding the quality of input, and significantly increasing participation and results.

These 20 techniques include:

Specific techniques for defining and controlling meeting behavior include:
1. Introductions
2. Clearing
3. Ground Rules Continue reading

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Creating Agendas for Meetings that Matter

November 6, 2013

Many experts would argue that the meeting agenda, if properly prepared, is the most important and powerful component of any meeting. It is, at the very least, your road map to success. The agenda is a fundamental and essential element of every meeting, serving as your preparation tool and script notes.
Once you have answered the premeeting planning questions (listed in my last blog), you can effectively build your agenda.

This process includes:
• Finalizing the order and flow of the agenda
• Reviewing the selected techniques, processes, and time frames for each agenda item
• Identifying alternative techniques in Continue reading

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