The Dominance Problem

Another classic problem of most meetings is the dominance problem.  A few people intimidate others.  As a meeting organizer or leader how can you mitigate the negative effects these people can have on potential collaborations?

Sometimes a few loud individuals can dominate your meetings.  And that can lead to quiet people (e.g. introverts) not sharing their best ideas.  There are lots of ways to manage this psychological dynamic between the louder and quieter people in your meetings.  But one such technique is called the Nominal Group Technique (NGT), an alternative to traditional brainstorming.  NGT prevents the domination of discussion by a single person, encourages the more passive group members to participate, and results in a set of prioritized solutions or recommendations.

Let’s say your team is trying to make a decision, for example; imagine you’re trying to decide whether to bring your proposal to the CEO now or wait until after the Board meeting.  Now, this is a classic situation where a few louder voices could steamroll the rest of the group.

So, as the team leader, what you do is ask everyone to write down their opinion on a sheet of paper. Then you collect those papers and record the opinions on a white board or flip chart and vote. This forces team members who wouldn’t have otherwise spoken up to voice their opinions.  It also minimizes the effect of group members who would otherwise dominate the conversation.  And yet, everyone still has input, and you get all of the best possible ideas.

You, as team leader, can control each of the member’s voices.  You can control their input, the flow, and the tone of it.
Another benefit of the nominal group technique is that it reduces Groupthink because it encourages independent thinking – people don’t get swayed by listening to everyone else’s arguments.

An alternative to the manual recording method for Nominal Group Technique is to utilize a collaborative technology tool such as an audience response application like Turning Point or one of the many smartphone applications or a decision support application like Think Tank.

The Kingbridge Insight this week is to encourage you as a leader, whether of a group or an entire organization to continuously try new techniques for group engagement  – the results will speak for themselves.  Also, and perhaps more importantly, ask for help if you need it! Consult a professional management consultant or if you are in the Greater Toronto Area give us a call and we can connect you with one of our trusted advisers.  There are resources out there to help you reach your goals – tap into them!

TED@Your Company

Imagine giving your own TED talk – what ‘’idea worth spreading’’ would you share in 18 minutes or less?

Recently, this question has been promoted from day dream to reality for some with the advent of TED’s professional development arm, the TED Institute which recently launched a corporate events program.  In this program companies can work with TED experts to put on their own authentic TED talk!


One of the first to engage in this program was the financial services company State Street.  The organization put out an open call to all employees for TED talk proposals, from which TED experts worked with company organizers to select those chosen to participate.  Those selected were then paired with TED coaches and led through an intense 6 week training program culminating in the creation of a presentation quality TED talk.

Aside from the obvious ‘cool’ factor of presenting your own TED talk for your colleagues, the real impact from these events comes from the creation of a ‘level’ playing field where position is secondary to content – a front line staff member’s talk on professional development may be followed by a personal experience talk by the CEO (if he made the cut!) and be equally as brilliant.

In the current fast paced environment it is increasingly important to inspire passion in employees (those who view new challenges as opportunities to learn additional skills) in order to maintain a competitive edge and foster innovation in a marketplace where many skill sets become obsolete within a few years.  These TED inspired events take great strides towards empowering such a culture.

This weeks Kingbridge Insight is a challenge: How can you as a leader in your organization empower a culture of continuous learning and professional development to inspire passion in your workforce?

John Abele: Medical Devices to Conference Centre – The Connection

John Abele, co-founder of Boston Scientific spent the better part of 4 decades pioneering the field of less invasive medicine.  With the undeniable success of Boston Scientific John has since pursued philanthropic endeavors including promoting science literacy for children and projects in social innovation.  John also purchased The Kingbridge Conference Centre & Institute in Ontario, Canada.

So, why a conference centre?  It seems an unlikely progression, medical devices to meetings, but for John the link is clear.  The current edition of Briefings Magazine published by The Korn/Ferry Institute features an article by accomplished author Glenn Rifkin exploring this very connection –  “Growth Through Collaboration: John Abele’s Vision”.

The article highlights how after years of working to convince often ego driven medical professionals and a bureaucratic medical industry to make change and ‘try something new’ that the key to success was collaborative approaches featuring innovative meeting techniques.  One of the most notable outcomes of these efforts is the still widely used Live Demonstration Course.

(Full article here)

In the following video John summarizes in his own words his vision for The Kingbridge Conference Centre & Institute and it’s roots in his experience with Boston Scientific.

Why Purchase a Conference Centre? from Kingbridge Conference Centre on Vimeo.

Presentation Strategies to Change a Culture

Everyone is talking about the evils of PowerPoint and how the use of it is now considered a presenter faux pas but in seems to me that as with any tool it isn’t the technology that makes or breaks a presentation but rather the presenters approach.

You may be wondering how presentations connect to creating a culture of collaboration?  And the simple answer is that a great presentation can create an environment for deeper learning and collaboration by stimulating an audience to share experience and knowledge with each other. By forming the right mindset and following a few simple principles anyone can give a presentation that not only imparts knowledge but fosters collaborative culture.

1. Share knowledge rather than teach it

Plan to present something that the audience has never seen or heard before.

This may seem a daunting task but if you use a relatable example from an entirely different field/interest finding something original can be quite simple.

Be vulnerable

This suggests to your audience that you in fact don’t know everything, but you’re here to share what you do know.

Be confident

This may seem to contradict the idea of being vulnerable but in fact the most confident people are those who are curious, open and unafraid to show their vulnerability.

2. Personalize your content

Connect content to personal experiences

This demonstrates a genuine interest and sincerity in involving your audience in a way that abstract references can’t.  This tactic can be used as your ‘something the audience has never seen or heard before’ quite successfully and provides more than one context that the audience can understand while stimulating them to think of their own personal metaphors that relate.

Now, while you are following the principles above if you do decide to employ PowerPoint as a presentation tool,- and I contend there is nothing evil about that! – try to restrict its use to showing relationships through images and very few words running in the background while you talk.  Again, using personal images or images from ‘real life’ rather than stock photos will better serve your purpose and resonate with the audience.

Any audience will have a group of people with a range of understanding and experience with the topic of your presentation so tell a story, describe things in more than one context and be original!

Prezi: The Successor to PowerPoint

Presentations haven’t evolved much in the 50 years since the slide projector was invented.  PowerPoint certainly added some interest through animation schemes but is still a linear presentation.  How many subjects or ideas are actually linear?

Prezi lets you bring your ideas into one space and see how they relate, helping you and your audience connect. Zoom out to see the big picture and zoom in to see details — a bit like web-based maps that have changed how we navigate through map books.  Prezi is a medium that inspires creative thinking and allows the user to share ideas in a dynamic and fun format.
Adam Somlai-Fischer is an architect and has been working with zooming presentations since 2001. Back then, he was coding each presentation by hand but it allowed him to show a floor plan (big picture) and individual rooms (details). Adam became an internationally desired speaker and as more people saw his zooming presentations they wanted to create their own. In 2007, Adam met Peter Halacsy who was one of these people. Peter convinced Adam to work on an editor so that anyone could make zooming presentations.

Prezi was launched in April 2009 from Budapest, leading to an investment from TED Conferences and was in fact used by James Geary in his talk at TED Global 2009:

The Collaboration Paradox: Understanding the Magic of Getting Things Done – Webinar!

One of the mainstays of successful collaboration is engineering interactivity and purposeful communication between the members.  Advances in technology have provided the tools to make this easier and accessible but it is still up to the organizer(s) to create the right conditions for collaboration to work.

Take advantage of the opportunity to learn about what makes a successful collaboration (and not so successful) via one of the very technology tools that make it possible by joining the Pegasus Communications Webinar “The Collaboration Paradox: Understanding the Magic of Getting Things Done” with me, John Abele on January 11, 2011.


The Collaboration Paradox:
Understanding the Magic of Getting Things Done

with John Abele

A 90-minute live webinar andjohnabele interactive discussion
Tuesday, January 11, 2011, 2-3:30 pm ET
Register for this live webinar

The need for more truly powerful collaborations, where the collective intelligence of a diverse set of minds is harnessed toward a common goal, is greater than ever. And yet we find collaboration vexingly difficult to do. In this webinar,John Abele, renowned co-founder of Boston Scientific, will examine the many different types of collaboration along with the barriers to making them effective. He’ll describe new tactics and approaches that may seem counterintuitive, but that will help unleash the wisdom of a crowd far better than more obvious approaches. John will share learnings from his extensive experiences in business, medicine, education, science, and philanthropy.

In this webinar, you will::

  • Learn from extraordinary successes and spectacular failures
  • Take away tips for overcoming the challenges that stand in the way of effective collaboration
  • Discuss how to foster rational discussion by understanding root causes, analyzing issues and options, and weighing trade offs—together
  • Understand how best to collaborate around implementing solutions
  • Receive a copy of the “Kingbridge Meeting Design Guidelines,” from the Kingbridge Centre and Institute

This 90-minute interactive session is $129.00 per site (a single phone line). You can use a speakerphone so that a group of people can participate. You will also have unlimited access to the recorded version following the event.

Date and Time
The live webinar is being held on Tuesday, January 11, 2011, from 2 to 3:30 pm ET. When you register, you will receive detailed information about how to call in and participate.

John Abele is the retired founding chairman of Boston Scientific Corporation ( and one of the pioneers of less invasive medicine. He holds numerous patents, and has published and lectured extensively on the technical, social, economic, and political trends and issues affecting healthcare and on strategies for improving collaboration between individuals, businesses, and organizations. John’s major interests are science literacy for children, education, and disruptive technological innovation. He is currently vice chair (former chair) of the FIRST Foundation, which works with high school kids to make science literacy cool and fun, and owner of The Kingbridge Centre and Institute, a conference center that is devoted to perfecting the “Art of Conferencing” and hosting exceptional meetings.

Register for this live webinar!

Difficult Presentations

On October 8th, 2008, Kingbridge and MaRS hosted a Difficult Presentations workshop in the Auditorium of the MaRS Collaboration Centre.  The title is of course a play on the famous book title, Difficult Conversations.  Everyone is aware that they must at times engage in difficult conversations.  We polled the group of our workshop, and a few people felt that they did not have to deliver difficult presentations even once a year.  One wonders, would they have answered the same if they were considering family as a possible audience?  “Difficult Presentations” was defined in this context as any time one party has information that when received by another party or parties, may have a negative outcome. The event was presented in partnership with our friends at the MaRS Collaboration Centre. They, like us, believe in effective convening as a critical competency for any successful organization buy jordans for cheap online. This shared vision and very unique settings have made for a natural strategic partnership.  As we endeavour to continue collaborating between our two collaboration focused organizations, we would be interested to know if any of our network would be interested in attending a reprisal of the Difficult Presentations workshop.  We would also like to know what other communication centered issues are of interest to you.  Meeting design?  Moderating?  Selling to hostile customers?  Anything that you or your organization need to improve. This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it