Team icon copyThe group’s first attempt at problem-solving together was “okay”, but everyone agreed that they’d be faster and smarter if they stopped talking over each other.

Yet the second attempt was worse. They argued it was habitual and asked “But how do we get a word in edgeways without talking over each other?”

Here are eight top tips from Kirsten Campbell and Will Sudworth based on the understanding that “systems breed behaviour and behaviour breeds systems”.

1.  Agree Ground Rules at the start

It is always worth carving out 5 minutes for ‘Ground Rules’ at the start of your meeting, agreeing the behaviours you do and don’t expect. These could include some of the approaches that follow here.

2.  Permission to support, build and bring-in

How about asking that everyone focuses on supporting the ideas of others and then bringing each other in to build on them? If you value collaborative working, this is a great way to demonstrate it.

3.  A Chairperson with gate-keeping skills

Let’s face it… if you’re at the table in the first place it ought to be because you have something to contribute. Make sure your Chair ensures everyone has the opportunity to contribute.

4.  Spin-round, sometimes with a time-limit

Ask participants to respond in turn, perhaps with a 2-minute time-limit if more vocal members tend to over-talk.

5.  Brainstorming with post it notes

Give everyone the opportunity to contribute quietly and reflectively. You can then cluster ideas together and prioritise them.

6.  Use the team tool called Fist-5

Click here to see previous article

7.  Role Modelling

Start to adopt disciplined behaviours yourself and notice the different responses you get, as others return the favour and give you space to speak and without interruption.

7.  Non-Waving Hand-Up

Putting a hand-up to register that you would like to contribute works well when the Chair registers your need with a simple nod. This allows you to let go of your point for now so that you can re-engage with the current speaker.

The alternative (keeping your waving hand in the air, sitting on the edge of your seat), makes it clear you are not listening and really just waiting for air space.

Try them out

Please let us know how you get on with these tips and any others you can suggest…