Here are three strategies to create these conditions along with some practical tools and hard-won wisdom:
1. Create hospitable space.
When you invite others to invest their time and attention, you are, in effect, hosting a set of deliberations. The role of the host is to invite the right people, provide the essential materials, prepare the space, and make “guests” feel welcome.
2. Provide context.
The convener should open the meeting by orienting participants to the work at hand:
- Who is in the room and why?
- What are the results we are committed to achieving and why do they matter?
- What are the behaviors and mindsets that will serve our purpose?
(My colleague, Danny Ceballos, has put together a great set of ground rules.)
3. Bring everyone’s voice into the room early on.
Build in 5-10 minutes for some form of check-in, right sizing it for the length of the session. Here are a few prompts to inspire your own choices:
One caveat: make sure that the questions surface information relevant and useful to the collective work.
- How are you doing and what do you need in order to be fully present?
- What’s been the high point of your week so far?
- Share one word that describes your state of mind/feeling.
- What is the (valuable) perspective you bring to this work?