15 Tips For More Effective Discussions | TravelResearchOnline


15 Tips For More Effective Discussions

The following examples provide some useful guidelines for generating discussion with your employees:


  1. Ask for feelings and opinions. Use a method of asking questions that will help people express their ideas, draw people out, and encourage discussion. For example:
  • What is your reaction to …?
  • How do you feel about …?
  • What is your thinking on …?
  • Would you say that …?

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  1. One way to help people reach mutual understanding is to paraphrase; that is, to ask one person to repeat what they understood someone else said. Then to verify with the originator that they understood correctly.
  • Let me see if I understand your position. Are you saying that…
  • What I’m hearing is… Is that right?
  • Do you mean that…?
  1. Encourage participation. Sometimes people hold back. They can be encouraged to participate by such questions as:
  • It is clear that Phil does not agree. Will you summarize your major objections?
  1. Ask for summary.
  • Lots of good ideas have been presented in the last few minutes. Will someone please summarize the major points before we go on?
  • It is clear the field is not agreeing. Phil, will you summarize your major objections?
  1. Ask for clarification.
  • I don’t understand that last comment. What would you do if…?
  • I saw Maria shaking her head. Maria, what is your point of view on the subject?
  1. Ask for examples.
  • Diana, will you give some examples of what you mean?
  • Bill, can you expand on that? I’m not sure I understand.
  1. Test for consensus.
  • It seems that we agree on this issue. Let me ask for a show of hands on this. Does everyone accept the idea that …?
  • Bill, are those your feelings, too?
  • Before we go on, let me check to make sure that we agree that…
  1. Initiate action.
  • How do you think we should …?
  • Kevin, how would you suggest that we proceed on this?
  1. Explore an idea in more detail.
  • What are some other ways to approach this problem?
  • Are there other things we might consider?
  • Who has something to add?
  1. Do a quick survey.
  • Let’s see a show hands. How many agree with this approach?
  • How do you feel about this?
  1. Suggest a break.
  • We have been discussing the program for a while now. I propose we take a 10-minute break.
  1. Suggest a procedure.
  • I noticed that Brian has contributed the most. I suggest we go around the table to see how others feel.
  • Would it help if we put the items in order of importance?
  1. Suggest they try something.
  • Let’s go around the table so that everyone gets a chance to comment on this.
  1. Stop the action and asked the group to talk about something.
  • Let’s stop the discussion for a moment. I think it might help if each of us told the group what he or she thinks about this point right now.
  1. Share your feelings.
  • I feel this way…
  • I’m frustrated. How did the rest of you feel?
  • This point doesn’t apply to me. How do you feel?

Practice a few of these guidelines and watch your communications improve.

Mike Marchev has lots more to share with you. Email him today to receive a Special Report titled, “THE BEST ADVICE I EVER GAVE TRAVEL PROFESSIONALS” at mike@mikemarchev.com Be sure to write the word “advice” in the subject box, and while you’re at it, include what you enjoy about reading Mike’s column.

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