Rating the Quality of Discussion

If we are asked regularly to rate the quality of speakers content and delivery, should we not also be rating the quality of discussion resulting from a speech? 
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Most meetings today involving presentations, ask participants to rate each speaker for the quality of the talk content, its relevance, the quality of the delivery, whether the time allotted was appropriate, etc.    They usually ask for a rating on the entire experience as well. At the risk of spawning a psychiatrist’s picnic, I suggest that we could gain a lot by creating metrics for rating the quality of discussions as well.

Often we go to meetings where the discussion is loaded with emotionalism and innuendo womens jordans cheap.   Someone ends up pushing his or her agenda through, despite many objections, and that person usually feels justified.  “Well, it may not have been pretty, but we got it done,” they may say.
But what has really been accomplished in such a situation? I would argue the answer is pretty much nothing.  First, they probably haven’t reached the correct decision if they are ignoring others’ objections.  Second, they have probably filtered out some really important ideas or feedback.  Once participants saw others being ignored or beaten down for objecting, they probably decided to hold their tongues. Last but not least, some people are now alienated from the cause, and they may either actively work against it, or not do their part to help it succeed.

In the end, it may have felt good and the “winning” side gets to savor the feeling of victory, but they will pay a high price for it…won the battle, lost the war.

The goal of a most discussions is to harness the collective intelligence of the people in that discussion.   If it’s not, than you may want to rethink why you do what you do and why so many people don’t trust you.   But a lot of discussions aren’t useless because the organizer wanted them to be useless.  They just didn’t understand how to make them more effective.  So let’s raise the bar.  I suggest we start rating them jordan retros for cheap.  That’s not an easy proposition, but here are thoughts to start with, I hope you’ll contribute your ideas too.

I think such a rating system would need to look at the following:

1. The level of emotion:  Emotion brings people together in an anti-collaborative way, because it makes it much more difficult for people to reason when they are being emotional.  As a result, an emotionally charged meeting tends to be unproductive.  Hmmm.  How many discussions have you had where one person tries to win with volume, exaggeration and emotion?

2. The clarity of explanations:  In your meeting, are people explaining very clearly the problems involved, the possible solutions, and why they are being considered?  Did they supply appropriate context?  Can these arguments be understood easily by all? If ten different people were to have listened to the discussion, how easily do you think they could explain to others what was being discussed?  How people understand things is directly tied to their culture, experience, and level of education. When people speak to a group, they need to keep that in mind and be sure they are understood before they keep talking.

3.  How deep were the insights offered up at the meeting?  Were people really thinking about the problem and bringing new and important information to light?

4.  How innovative were the ideas presented?  If the participants are truly engaged, trusting the system, and open-minded, they will present a full range of ideas, including some potentially disruptive ones Womens New Balance 2002.    Those new ideas are the key to changing the culture and getting the best possible outcome.

I know this is going to seem very qualitative, but there is nothing wrong with using a qualitative method to rate something.  Ideally, you would want to have one or two independent “observers” rate some of your meetings for you, and help you start to see how to make the rating system useful.  I think this will help change the way people look at your meetings, and how they participate.  But I’d be interested in hearing what you think about this idea too.

John Abele

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About John

“John Abele is a pioneer and leader in the field of less-invasive medicine, For more than four decades, John has devoted himself to innovation in health care, business and solving social problems.” He is retired Founding Chairman of Boston Scientific Corporation. John holds numerous patents and has published and lectured extensively on the technology of various medical devices and on the technical, social, economic, and political trends and issues affecting healthcare. His major interests are science literacy for children, education, and the process by which new technology is invented, developed, and introduced to society. Current activities include Chair of the FIRST Foundation which works with high school kids to make being science-literate cool and fun, and development of The Kingbridge Centre and Institute, a conferencing institution whose mission is to research, develop, and teach improved methods for interactive conferencing: problem solving, conflict resolution, strategic planning, new methods for learning and generally help groups to become “Collectively intelligent.” He lives with his wife and two dogs in Shelburne, Vermont.”

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