Skills 360 – Leading Group Decision-Making Meetings (1)

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Business English Skills 360 LESSON – Leading a Group Decision 1
Welcome back to Business English Skills 360 for today’s lesson on Business English communication skills for leading a group to a decision.

In fact, it might be better to say we’re talking about how to lead groups to good decisions. After all, any meeting chairperson can push for a quick decision, or call a vote before matters have been fully discussed. But that’s not the kind of leadership I’m talking about. And that doesn’t necessarily produce good decisions. A good decision is one that people buy into, and one that has a strong rationale behind it.

So how can we go about leading a group to a decision? Well, right at the start of the meeting, you need to set the stage for a good discussion, and a good decision. Firstly, you need to be very clear about the purpose. If you’re meeting to make a decision, make sure everyone knows it.

It’s also a good idea to have a decision-making process for the meeting. And that process typically goes like this: start with information-sharing, then run through or brainstorm different options, then evaluate those options through discussion, and finally make a decision. Notice that generating ideas and evaluating ideas are separate steps. That helps prevent people feeling criticized or getting defensive.

Within this process, leading group decisions is all about facilitating good discussion. And the magic of good facilitation is making everyone in the room feel listened to and emotionally validated. Overall, you need to make sure that everyone has had a chance to speak and express themselves. Sometimes this means calling on people directly. Or it might simply mean staying attuned to how those weaker voices attempt to join the discussion.

By being clear about purpose upfront, following a basic decision-making process, and using your meetings English and facilitation skills, you can come to a good decision. And remember, a good decision is one that people buy into and that has a good rationale to support it.

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