When engaging, it’s one thing to want to gather information and seek ideas from a group, but it’s another to generate meaningful conversations that bring results.

I recently attended a forum where, first up, the group was told the ideas that other groups had shared on the same topics. This had a number of positive impacts:

  1. There was less uncertainty in the process, as the group could see that previous forums had produced results.
  2. It set the scene for new ideas. The group could pull together their own thoughts from what others had said.
  3. The group was made to feel comfortable in providing input just as others had done before them.

I realised that the easier you make it for people to share their thoughts and ideas, the richer the conversation will be.

Some people thrive on blank slates. Others respond better if they are given context, background and solutions. Either way you need to know your objectives and stimulate the conversation.

Conversation blocks can be avoided by:

  1. Understanding your audience
  2. Setting the scene
  3. Building a connection
  4. Having a clear and precise agenda
  5. Being methodical in the way you collect ideas and record them
  6. Asking the right questions
  7. Demonstrating how people’s input will be used

This will ensure the conversation flows freely from the beginning, and the feedback you get is rich and insightful.