You can find an introduction to Sensemaking Meetings in Chapter 29 of Where the Action Is. These resources will help you plan, run, and troubleshoot the specific Sensemaking Meetings your team needs.
A Sensemaking Meeting is used to find answers to questions and improve shared group understanding of a topic or situation.
- What can we learn from each other about this topic?
- How can we make sense of this situation?
- Project Discovery Meetings
- Incident Investigations
- Doctor/Patient Consults
- Community Input Sessions
- Market Research Panels
- Situational Analyses
- Informational Interviews
- To learn things you can use to inform later action.
- To gain an understanding of the current state of a project, organiza-tion, or system.
- To get help figuring something out.
- Shared information.
- New data or insights that can translate into action.
- Support and a sense of being “in it together.”
- A better understanding of the current situation.
Meeting Agenda Templates and Guides
|Ingrid Bens - This meeting agenda template provides an excellent format for a consultant’s first meeting with a new client group, helping consultants better understand the organizations they serve. The process outlined here helps the client group explore the circumstances surrounding the new project. They get to share their... [ more ]|
|Richard Lent, Ph.D. - Gather productive feedback and build alignment on a new proposal or plan using this simple meeting structure. After presenting the proposal, you’ll lead the discussion using three feedback questions asked in a specific order. This meeting agenda template can be used to create a stand-alone meeting dedicated to... [ more ]|
|Tree Bressen - This template guides users through a pre-meeting interview in preparation for a conflict resolution session of 2-6 participants (+ facilitator). The latter session may be referred to as a mediation. The planned session will attempt to heal a relationship that has broken down so that the parties can work effectively... [ more ]|
|Paul Axtell - Leaders seek alignment when defining goals, making decisions, or formulating strategic plans. When it’s important to have everyone in the group on board with the outcome, working through this series of deliberate and thoughtful questions can help achieve group alignment. This meeting agenda template provides a... [ more ]|
Lucid Blog Posts
Tree Bressen (2018). Most of the time, work hums along and people work out tensions as they arise. Sometimes, it’s not like that—sometimes things get really stuck. When relationships are broken (low trust, poor communication, inability to work together well), nothing else functions, and the whole work process slows to nearly nothing.
Dr. Patricia Thompson (2017). In this type of high-stakes meeting, your goal is to manage your emotions, while also helping the participants to manage theirs. In this way, they can improve their objectivity in the moment, reduce the likelihood of being swayed by knee-jerk emotional reactions, and listen more effectively.
Recommended Reading & Resources
- "Is this really an "ancient Chinese proverb"?". Metafilter (2013).
- The Facilitator’s Guide to Participatory Decision Making. Sam Kaner (2014).
- The Knowledge Illusion: Why We Never Think Alone. Steven Sloman, Philip Ferbach (2017).