One of the best ways to open a discussion is with a short framing statement outlining the ‘whats, hows and whys’ of a conversation before beginning it. This ‘sets’ the scene’, explains what you want to discuss and prevents you from jumping in with both feet.
Think about a frame around a picture does; it draws your attention to it, highlights its main features and co lours and separates the picture from its surroundings. A frame to a conversation does the same. It identifies what will be and what won’t be discussed. It introduces the topic and often specifies how the conversation will proceed.
Developing and delivering a short framing statement will help you in three ways. It will ensure you have analyzed and organized your information and thoughts. It will help clarify your purpose and the way you will go about achieving it. And it will help set the scene for a productive discussion.
He res are the steps to make a framing statement ………
State the problem – “We haven’t been able to blend our ideas and efforts and I think this is causing us both extra work. Let’s see if we can find a way to work better together.”
Map the discussion – “Before we begin discussing our productivity rate, I suggest we first review our standards. Then I’d like to move on and see if we can figure out what is preventing our consistency, How does that sound to you?”
Point to your goal – “Lee, I want you to succeed at this job and I’d like to discuss some ideas that may help you.”
Establish what will be focused on and what won’t – “Today, we won’t be talking about your overall job performance, which is excellent, but only about the incident that happened yesterday.”
Review relevant key events – “We have spoken previously over the past month about the importance of providing correct figures from your department not reaching us on time. It happened again this morning.”
Outline the information you want to discuss – ” During this meeting I would like to review the figures and what you based them on. Then I would like us to put in place an action plan for improving the correctness of them.
The example above is a good template to work through ensuring that you have planned and organized your productive discussions. Ensure that you fully understand each other’s position before moving forward. a good saying to remember is “First you need to understand before being understood.”