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Written words clarify

Good Group Tips

In principle, the value of written words is that several people can see them simultaneously and that they endure over time. Written words anchor specific events, ideas, perspectives, decisions.

Further, the process of choosing words helps us be sure that we understand. Writing and agreeing on words together forces shared understanding.

Without a written record to underpin the understanding or agreement, we can count on ever-changing accounts of what happened.

Practical Tip: When making group decisions, write down words to represent the decisions. You might write words on a flip chart or computer screen for all to see and clarify in the moment, or you might write them for later clarification in the form of meeting minutes (written notes of a meeting). Many groups circulate draft minutes, invite corrections, and then formally approve a final version.

Agreeing on written words is harder than just nodding approval of spoken words, but it saves confusion and conflict over the long run.

– Craig Freshley

Click here for one-page PDF of this Tip, a great way to print or share.

3 thoughts on “Written words clarify

  1. Although not touched upon in your discussion the title reminds me that we only absorb a portion of what we hear so by writing we provide a second opportunity to make sure that the concept was captured correctly. At the sme time, we provide an opportunity for those in the group who need to contemplate a thought before providing feedback on a concept. And finally, we provide an opportunity to tweak a good concept into the final concept that works for the group.

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