I learned a new, simple, highly useful meeting facilitation technique from my friend and colleague, Michael Wilkinson, at Leadership Strategies. Michael’s company does great facilitation training. Check them out at www.leadstrat.com. Michael and I were recently at the Instructional Systems Association Annual Business Retreat, and he shared this useful technique called, ELMO, aka, “enough, let’s move on.” Here’s how it goes:
As part of setting groundrules at the start up of a meeting, ask the group to agree to the ELMO rule. If someone yells ELMO during the meeting, then the facilitator pauses and asks for a vote. (Majority rules, although you can of course set your own decision protocol.) If the majority agrees that it is “enough, let’s move on,” then the facilitator stops the discussion and moves on to the next topic. If the majority disagrees, then you keep with the current discussion. Simple, elegant, effective.