The Importance of Small Breakout Groups to Find Solutions and Create New Products and Services.
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How to Stay Connected in a Virtual Team - By Jo Romano
When discussing problems that need to be worked out, you have to get each other's ideas and opinions. This way, getting the solutions to the problem will be easier. But sometimes, heated discussions occur when everybody wants to say something and has something to offer. Instead of arriving at a conclusion, conflicts arise.
When meeting with others in order to come up with the needed solutions, forming small group work is recommended. It may be composed of 4-15 people, making it easier for members to participate actively. They could meet as a small gathering or as break-outs of a larger meeting. With this method, exchanging ideas is lively and the interchange of thoughts will provide each other with a meaningful participation. It also helps avoid and reduce complaint-oriented and conflict-driven sessions.
When there is a need to diversify in a large group, break out groups are ideal. Members of the group meet in separate areas, for example in a corner of a large room or in anyone of several smaller rooms. They will elect or appoint a discussion facilitator who will consolidate ideas, and ensure that each participant has a chance to express their opinions. The more breakout groups there are, the greater and more interactive the challenge of facilitating. Once divided, each group will try to answer or complete an agenda. After they have brainstormed, they will report back to the large group with their results.
When forming a breakout group, here are things to consider:
1. Anticipate the space that you are going to use. Before forming the number of breakout groups, make sure that there is enough space where people can pull chairs into clusters to work. Determine if there is an access to adjoining rooms. Set up an easel with a flip chart and supply of markers that work.
2. Orient the participants. The facilitator describes the purpose and role of the breakoutgroups. If all of them are going to work on the same item, encourage them to askquestions to clarify everything before they go to their respective group. If they are charged with different topics, then give them an overview on what they are going to do with those topics. Tell them how much time they have so they can maximize it. Ingrouping them, one way to group is to count off by numbers to assure a better mixture of members. For example if you want three groups they would count off by 3's.
3. From time to time, the facilitator announces the remaining minutes before time is up.
4. Get ready to report out to the large group. Organize all the gathered information for your presentation. Your presentation should highlight what you have discussed which might include your key topics, process, and recommendations for next steps.
Time to report back. When everybody is ready, convene the large audience. Remind the small group reporter the amount of time they have to make their presentation and stick to it. At the beginning, introduce the reporter.
After the report, thank the reporter and proceed to the next group's report out. Repeat the whole process.
When finding solutions to conflict and problems or when generating fresh innovative ideas for products and services, there is no better way than to tap into the collective talent and creativity of your people than by using break out groups.
Breakout groups foster a lively and interactive engagement of people in your organization and results in the best solutions.
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How to Stay Connected in a Virtual Team - By Jo Romano
About the Author: Jo Romano
RSS for Jo's articles - Visit Jo's website
Josephine Romano is President of Josephine A. Romano Associates, a Vermont based consultant whose focus is life and work coaching, training, and organizational problem solving. Her passion is working with motivated executives and employees in all levels of leadership, management and support staff in business, government and non-profit settings. Ms. Romano holds a Comprehensive Life Coach Certification with Coach Institute, Pa., USA. She also has a license and certification in Prevention with the International Consortium of Addiction and Prevention Credentialing Boards (ICRC). She serves as an Adult Dialogue Education instructor for Global Learning Partners, Inc., Toronto, Canada. She also teaches training of trainers for Health Realization. Jo specializes in executive and business coaching for CEO's, Middle Managers, Supervisors, Lawyers, Court Managers and Judges. www.lifecoachforlawyers.com She is also an International Certified Substance Abuse Prevention Specialist and provides prevention coaching, consultation, technical assistance, and training to community coalitions, schools, families and the workplace. http://www.greenmountainlifecoach.com Get a free report: http://www.REALWORLDLEADERREPORT.com
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