Better Meetings and Decisions Workshop

One of the most important skillsets I have learned in the past couple of years was to listen and facilitate conversations. These two skills are now foundational to how I work toward better meetings and decisions.

These aren’t the skillsets that are talked about much for product designers, but it’s critical in order to do great work. I was excited to see John Maeda include it in his list of 10 near-term skills to help designers grow for his 2018 Design in Tech Report.

Learning to listen and facilitate conversations has helped me any time I’m working with someone to evaluate and make decisions.

As product designers, this encompasses a lot of situations at work

  • How does your team align on the problems to tackle?
  • How does your team provide feedback on your work?
  • How does your team decide when something is done?
  • What is the scope of work your team is planning to design, build, and ship?

On a meta-level

  • How does your team make decisions?
  • How does your team communicate agreements or disagreements?

Learning to listen and facilitate conversations has changed the way I approach all of these questions. The side effects of ineffective decision making means that team members could eventually give up disagreeing and avoid fully committing to the decisions. There is also the cost of taking too much time and energy to align on a decision.

Being a good listener and facilitator makes these conversations more productive. As the team gets better, it also means that you’re making decisions faster and the decisions are more aligned. Listening and facilitating are prerequisite skills for collaboration and leadership in any group setting.

If you’re a designer or PM interested in improving your listening and facilitation skills, I’d love to share what I have learned with you. There aren’t a lot of resources out there geared toward designers and product managers. So I’m going to start small group workshops to teach these skills. Let me know if you’d like to learn more about the workshops by signing up here. I’ll keep you updated when the first one is scheduled.