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- Sessions have a limited timeframe, so be ready to interrupt someone who might be speaking too long. You can say something like “Let me interrupt you. I like where you’re going, but because of our short time together we can only spend a few minutes on each comment. Can you give us a 15 second wrap-up? I want to make sure we have time to hear additional thoughts.”
- Be ready to intervene if the conversation goes off topic. This is a great opportunity to use the question/topic “parking lot.” Acknowledge that the topic is important but note that you want to keep the group on track. You can say something like “I appreciate your passion/where this is going, but I want to keep us on the topic of [X]. Let’s put [Y] in the parking lot so we don’t lose it and can circle back in a future discussion.” Make sure someone from the group adds it to the parking lot while you move on.
- Watch out for folks who might be dominating the conversation. Instead of calling on the same person, nudge someone who may not be raising their hand. You can say something like “Hey [NAME], we haven’t heard from you in awhile, what experiences do you have with [X]?”
- Don’t always rely on volunteers to respond to questions. Feel free to call on individuals that look engaged but maybe need a little nudge to be “invited” to join the conversation.
- Think about your own questions and ideas around this topic. Be ready to pose them to the group if there’s a lull in conversation or to redirect the conversation if it’s getting derailed or stuck on a particular topic.
- Do you have your own good examples around this topic? Turn your “answer” into a question and pose it to the group. Give the audience a chance to respond before chiming in with your contribution.