Create a non-critical atmosphere. No one is to do or say anything negative. No
one, by look or action, may indicate that he or she thinks another’s idea is silly or
useless. The sky is the limit. Preposterous, screwball, and even impossible solu-
tions are welcomed. An idea that seems weird may spark subsequent valuable
Record every contribution. Use one or two persons to record ideas.
Strive to elicit a lot of ideas rapidly. See howmany good ideas you can get in five
minutes or another specific amount of time.
Urge participants to improve on ideas, combine ideas, and add to other’s ideas
Maintain control of participants. The chairperson must remain in control of the
group. All group members must follow agreed upon procedures for introducing
ideas. Keep track of time.
Use questions to stimulate thinking. If the group gets bogged down, the chairper-
son may restate the problem or ask questions.
Decide on the merits of ideas. This is an essential step that the core group or an
entirely different group of people should do promptly after brainstorming. The
group will eliminate some ideas quickly and analyze and discuss others at length.
Select the best idea or method for solving the problem.
Action planning combines commitment, collaboration, and ongoing efforts toward
achieving the group’s goals. Collaboration is a key element because people support
what they help create and are more committed to ensuring the goals are achieved.
The benefits of using an action plan (a work plan) to reach goals and solve problems
It involves the people who make the change
It invites people to invest interest, time, and responsibility in the outcome
It keeps the input and atmosphere positive
It dignifies people by accepting their input and assigns them responsibility for im-
plementing the changes
It continues the evaluation, revision, and change process
It develops a starting point
How does action planning work? The process is guided by a basic plan as out-
Problem. (Stated in terms of performance and behavior) “What does this problem
Realistic idea. (What you want to see stated in terms of performance) “Here’s
what we want to happen.”
Obstacles. (Why isn’t it already as you want it?) “What’s getting in the way of…”
Resources. (People, money, time, knowledge to overcome obstacles) “Here’s what
Intervention(s) or program plan selected. (What resources do you combine?) “Here
are some ways to reach our goal.”
Jobs. (Who does what and when?)
Next steps. (What happens now?) “Here’s what I need to do.”
And now. (What happened and what we need to do next) The group should have
an action plan to address each important task or issue it is facing.
The interaction method is deigned to increase participation in meetings and to use
available time effectively. This method encourages wider participation by the group
and is particularly useful in smaller groups, such as committees. This style of meeting
should be used when:
You have a particular problem to solve and a formal meeting will not generate
You are looking for new or improved activities for your group
Brainstorming is completed and you want to give in-depth attention to several
ideas generated from brainstorming
This method is guided by four main roles: facilitator, recorder, group members, and
chairperson or president.
Keeps the group focused on the agenda, encouraging ideas from all
members and chauffeuring the group toward its goals.
It is neutral servant of the group
Does not evaluate or contribute ideas without permission by the group
Focuses energy of the group on a common task
Suggests alternative methods and procedures
Protects individuals and their ideas from attack
Encourages everyone to participate
Helps the group find a win-win solution
Coordinates per-and post-meeting organization
Makes a contract with the group. For example, “Hi, I’m Jane and I’m going to facil-
itate today’s meeting. I will encourage your participation, keep you on track, keep
you moving, and make suggestions about ways to attack a problem. I won’t evalu-
ate any idea or add my own. I’m just here to help you get through the agenda suc-
cessfully. I need you to tell me when I’m not sticking to my contract. Are their any
Clearly define your role.
Show the group an agenda and ask for revisions and additions.
Get agreement on a common problem and press before beginning.
Boomerang questions back to group members (e.g., “I don’t know; what do you
Be positive—compliment the group.
Accept corrections nondefensively.
Don’t talk too much.
Support and keep the recorder in his or her role.
Don’t be afraid to make mistakes.
Help educate the group.
Keeps the record of all ideas, (typically on butcher paper) and adds
new suggestions as the meeting proceeds.
Uses the words of the speaker. Does not edit or paraphrase.
Records enough of the speaker’s ideas so they can be understood later.
Remains neutral like the facilitator and does not contribute his or her own ideas.