Whether you are talking to one person or a group, sticking to the point of an issue or problem can be difficult. Everyone wants to give their input and before you know it the conversation has headed down a rabbit trail leading to somewhere totally different than where you needed to go. Good practical practice management of meetings is vital when it comes to resolving problems or issues and moving your work team ahead. There are three easy guidelines that you can follow that will help keeping you on the right track when having these types of discussions.
1. Define the problem; state what the issue or problem is that you need to discuss and resolve and nothing else. When defining the issue keep it as “clean and clear” as you possibly can and make sure that everyone understands what it is before going any further.
2. Limit discussion to the issue at hand; appoint someone to be the “line guard” who will interject when the discussion goes out-of-bounds. This is an important step in keeping to the point of the problem as far too many times unnecessary discussion will take place that does not pertain to the issue at hand. When this is allowed it is difficult to get back on track and it wastes valuable office time and results in loss of productivity. Your “line guard” is almost like a parliamentarian keeping order to the discussion.
3. Resolution; make sure that your focus is on getting the problem solved. It is good to have a time limit to your meeting so that everyone who is involved understands that there is a “wrap up time” and time is an important factor. As your discussion is taking place write down what resolutions are being given and when you have a few stop and decide if one of them is the answer to the issue, if so you are done. If none of them seem to be the right resolution then instead of trying to come up with more resolutions at this time, table the issue for another meeting and have everyone think of one more resolution. When you meet again you began with stating what each person has come up with and hopefully you can resolve it at this time.
These three points may seem obvious, but I can tell you that I have attended many meetings where the point of an issue has been lost and endless conversation took place about something totally unrelated to the issue at hand. These steps work and make sticking to the point very easy as long as everyone knows the rules and the point of what needs to be resolved.