Your work changes. It becomes about enabling the group to perform well. As a chair, your work is to draw out their individual and collective wisdom.
Questions will help you do it and I have 7 mighty ones to share with you.
What do you think?
Who has a different view?
What’s the upshot?
What don’t we know?
What needs to happen next? Who will do it?
What might get in the way?
How can we plan for that?
These questions will help you create interaction, invite contributions, challenge your group to think and volunteer their ideas. They are short, singular and open which creates the space for them to think and respond. Remember to pause after you’ve asked the question, allow them time to collect their thoughts. And if there are no immediate responses, coax them out with another question, “who would like to share their thoughts?”.
They will empower your group. They will show that you trust them. In return they will turn their brains on and share their thoughts. As a chair, your work becomes about working with their output, listening, framing, connecting and organising what they share. That’s work enough.
And, because this may be different to how your meetings usually run, and you may be asking more from your group than before, here are a couple of bonus questions for the end of the meeting:
How was this meeting for you?
Thank you for your energy and input.
In the spirit of this piece, what do you think? What’s worked for you? What’s missing? Get in touch and let me know.