Meetings of boards, major committees, and councils bog down when there are arguments, personality clashes, or fixed viewpoints. Any of these blocks productivity of the meeting. Dissent and argument are valuable, so lubrication is the way to proceed.
If I’m a member, I sit where I can feel everyone, only contribute when needed, and then from intuition. Often someone who readily dissents will become a contributor to a consensus or even suggest a consensus that allows the group to accomplish its tasks.
When I forget to suspend judgment my efforts don’t work. If I don’t feel everyone in the room, my efforts don’t work.
Even more effective is to scribe for the meeting. Write key phrases and summations of discussion on paper on an easel all can see. That evening, turn these into draft minutes, ask the chair to edit, and send the final version to everyone who attended.
I did this for the committee that set direction, values, and policies when two Red Cross Chapters merged. The best practices from each chapter were to be incorporated into the new one. Scribing was am effective contribution. The tools of consciousness lubricated discussion. The new chapter was very effective. Two other key committees of the new chapter asked me to scribe to keep them effective.
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Pieter Kark, MD, San Mateo, CA 94401-2238