At Agile 2007, I attended Jean Tabaka’s (author of Collaboration Explained) session “Why I don’t like Monday’s“, among other things she recommended establishing some ground rules for your team meetings. At the time my team created the following set:
- No email or surfing the web.
- No side conversations (via IM etc)
- No cellphones or blackberries
- Join the meeting on time
At this year’s conferences in a session entitled “Beginner’s Mind“- Jean mentioned a couple of new ground rules that she offers to teams for consideration:
- Focus on the “Art of the Possible” – what could possible work here – the goal is open minds and replace conversations around that could never work here.
- “But’s are ugly” – we drop the word the use of the word but – which leads to more conversations like ‘and we could try that’.
Finally we should be aware that the question: “Are there any other questions” (a yes/no question) is the fastest way to shut down questioning. Instead try asking open ended questions like: “What else?” or “What other questions do you have”? are very different. They are very open. Staying with these two open styles of questions and allowing silence for up to 10 seconds can provide a nice nudge toward further information.