I really like this post from Chris Corrigan on giving instructions to groups, and finding that balance between clarity and getting out of the way.
Giving instructions poorly leads to confusion and chaos and can quickly erode the trust of a group. Being too direct can shut people down and create a sterile meeting. The art is finding the space between the two.
Chris outlines seven practices for giving instructions. Here is a taste.
Shut up sooner than you think you have to. …. When I have given the instructions, my role is to get out of the way, cleanly, clearly and fast.
People are more capable to be in confusion than you think they are. ….. Let people be a little confused and they will discover that they can get the clarity they need from each other, and they can get to work on the real sources of fear and confusion in the group.
I find it very useful to unpack how we do what we do. Sometimes apparently simple things happen instinctively without us really considering the impacts of our smallest actions.
As Viv McWaters wrote in December, “I’m reading Bill Isaac’s book Dialogue and the Art of Thinking Together. He writes: “We need to become conscious of what we are doing so that we can refine and share it. This does not mean that we must make a theory of dialogue formal and explicit, but that we in some fashion make it understandable and usable to others.”
Thanks Chris for doing just that.
Lynn Walsh – workshop and meeting facilitator – Sydney, Australia