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Structured Discussion

  1. Agree on the criteria for discussion.
  2. Take turns expressing points of view without interactive discussion or debate.
  3. Summarize points of agreement after all members have had an opportunity to speak uninterrupted.
  4. Debate and discuss conflicting ideas.
  5. Periodically check for agreement by asking each member to state his or her point of view.
  6. Continue to discuss and debate the ideas until a decision is reached.

How To Set Criteria

  1. Generate a few criteria ideas, and list on a flipchart (e.g., “low-hanging fruit”).
  2. Through discussion or consensus, reach agreement on the criteria that all members will use.
  3. There can be one or more criteria for any decision.
  4. Criteria may be objective or subjective.

REFERENCE: The Seven-Step Meeting Process and Tools from Executive Learning, Inc. Handbook for Improvement, Nashville: ELI, 2002.