Monday, August 15, 2011

10 Ways to Chair Meetings to Foster a Creative Atmosphere and Help Creative Thinking

By Edward Glassman, PhD

The creative climate in a meeting depends in large part on the actions of the leader. This person can make or break creative thinking. These suggestions to the chair can make a great deal of difference to the success of the meeting.
1. Do not compete with other people to generate ideas. Support and build on the ideas of others.
REASON: Leaders tend to favor their own ideas. This discourages other people from contributing.

2. Respond non-evaluatively to new ideas. Create an atmosphere in which people consider all ideas.
REASON: Responding in a non-evaluative way encourages everyone to participate.

3. Do not permit anyone to be put on the defensive. Find value in all points of view. Start with what you like about what you heard.

REASON: This approach encourages everyone to contribute and help new ideas.

4. Get people to talk about the positives of an idea before the negatives. Do not kill an idea; just put it aside.
REASON: This approach encourages everyone to contribute and help new ideas.

5. Keep your energy level high.
REASON: Your interest and alertness helps others.

6. Use every member of your work group. Talk to domineering people privately. Help quiet persons.
REASON: Everyone has unique perspectives, valuable ideas, and information that contribute to the quality of the outcomes.

7. Tape meetings and ask persons with poor behavior to listen to the tape.
REASON: This helps them to change their behavior.

8. Rotate the chair of the meeting.
REASON: Being a follower and leader leads to commitment and participation of others.

9. Do not damage egos or self-esteem.
REASON: This encourages everyone to share and leads to greater levels of participation.

10. Defer judgment during idea generation and avoid early commitment to an idea.
REASON: The leader has great power to sway members. This does not always result in choosing and developing the best idea.

Please let me know how these suggestions work for you. If you are not a leader, show these to him/her and let me know the result. •

© 2011 by Edward Glassman. All rights reserved.

Edward Glassman, PhDAbout the Author | More by Edward Glassman
Edward Glassman, PhD was the President of the Creativity College®, a division of Leadership Consulting Services, Inc., and Professor Emeritus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he headed the Program For Team Effectiveness And Creativity. He was a Guggenheim Foundation Fellow at Stanford University and Visiting Fellow at the Center For Creative Leadership in Greensboro, NC. His biography appears in “Who's Who In America” and “Who’s Who in the World.” He retired and now writes books.
Send Edward questions about your creativity at work through his Web site: