1 Remember that any Conference Member can make contributions which will “lead’ the group. Members need not wait for the “official” Leader to lead or have all the helpful ideas.
2 Find out or establish the objective of the Conference.
3 Communicate this objective to Conference Participants and/or check by feedback that they understand the objective.
4 Watch for signs that Group Members do not accept the Conference Objective.
5 Do all the previous three points for each topic (i.e. a part of the objective). (Note: A Conference consists of discussions on one or more “topics”.)
6 Assess relevancy of: (a) each contribution to the topic and (b) each topic to the objective.
7 Bring to the attention of Group, trends or discussions which rate as off the topic.
8 Until experienced (and even then rarely) do not try to act as a Conference Participant – Your job involves helping others make relevant contributions which will help progress towards the Conference objective.
9 Help the Group by summarising at appropriate intervals what Members have said and/or decided and where the discussion stands in relation to the objective.
10 Consider the possibility of designing a framework which will help the Group have a fruitful discussion on content material (as opposed to “designing” conclusions and decisions which the Group will “put on” to the framework).
11 Seek to find relationships between contributions to reduce the number of ideas (or contributions) which the group need to consider in one short period of time (say 5 to 15 minutes).
12 Establish relationships (e.g. links or common elements) by looking for contributions which say the same thing, rate as similar, or say the same thing when defined more clearly. Seek other relationships where a number of ideas have a common element (concept formation) or rate as part of one larger idea or you can group in some way.
13 Consider the advantages of using a board (black or white) to record points made by Participants. Most Participants will find it difficult to remember all the points made if not recorded. If recorded, people can more- easily find relationships.
14 Encourage a constructive and problem-solving attitude in Participants and in their contributions.
15 Deal with the feelings and attitudes of people before attempting to obtain a problem-solving discussion.
16 Consider whether to aim for a:
(a) High-quality decision with (possibly) low acceptance, or
(b) Low-quality decision with high acceptance, or
(c) High-quality decision with high acceptance.
17 Encourage Conference Participants to remember the C-L-U-E to good Conference Participation – i.e. Contribute – Listen – Understand – Evaluate.
18 Separate ideas from idea evaluation. In some cases this distinction will help encourage people to listen and understand before they evaluate early on and decide they need not listen to the rest. Use the phrase ‘1 just want you to listen to me (or another person) and understand me. I do not necessarily want you to agree with me.
19 Consider the advantages of a delay in choosing between solutions in order to search for more possibilities.