Humans beat chatbot, 59 to 5
This week, I invited some friendly folks* to think of as many ways as possible to use questions in meetings.
The precise question was: "In what ways do questions improve your meetings?"
The human-generated list is below. The numbers in ( )'s indicate how many times a particular way was mentioned.
Questions improve meetings by....
...encouraging diverse perspectives, imagination, ideas or creative thinking (16)
...encouraging reflection (7)
...clarifying or framing the purpose of the meeting (6)
...encouraging or increasing participation, engagement, or interaction (5)
...challenging or breaking down assumptions or uncovering blindspots (5)
...identifying, exploring or generating alternatives or solutions (5)
...promoting dialogue, leading into an activity or starting a conversation (5)
...inviting or engaging curiosity (4)
...fostering change or innovation (4)
...uncovering possibilities or inviting brainstorming (4)
...helping people to get to know each other (4)
...improving processes, efficiency, effectiveness (4)
...connecting people and building relationships (3)
...provoking or challenging people (3)
...inviting or promoting listening (3)
...validating, verifying or affirming a point (3)
...activating attention or focus (3)
...clarifying or checking for understanding (2)
...helping to organize themes (2)
...providing insights (2)
...helping prioritize things (2)
...creating consensus or alignment on decisions (2)
...deepening connection to material covered (2)
...helping people have fun or injecting humor (2)
...framing or reframing issues or challenges (2)
...guiding conversations (2)
...enabling people to check in
...avoiding wasting time
...breaking up monotony
...changing the pace of a meeting
...getting to the root of why we're meeting in the first place
...building relational safety
...revealing lack of alignment
...helping people to verbalize problems
...helping with understanding context
...putting people in a particular state of mind
...checking for understanding
...empowering people to be both teachers and students
...challenging authority or orthodoxy
...revealing what people want to know about a person or topic
...revealing the audience's foundational knowledge
...revealing the statement behind the question
...determining next steps
...getting dimensions of problems before crafting solutions
...encouraging consideration of alternatives
...finding out who is motivated to do what
...getting at root causes
...meeting others meaningfully
...spuring action or implementation
...indicating curiosity or interest
...checking on people's welfare
Now, it's true that some might consolidate the single ideas suggested above into fewer groups. The number of groups would depend on whether you are a "lumper" or a "splitter." (This is something my college paleontology prof often pointed out when we sorted fossils.) However, the humans would still have more ideas than ChatGPT suggested when I asked it the same question, "In what ways do questions improve your meetings?" Here is ChatGPT's answer:
“Overall, asking questions is an effective way to engage participants, generate ideas, clarify information, create dialogue, and keep meetings on track. It is an essential skill for meeting facilitators to master, as it can lead to more productive and effective meetings.” (Amen to that)
In fairness, humans have advantages over Artificial Intelligence (AI) chatbots like ChatGPT. Humans have curiosity. They have life experience to draw on. They think. They understand language.
AI chatbots do not "think." They do not even "understand." They search for the next most probable word based on the databases on which they are trained. At some point, our human-generated list could become part of ChatGPT's database.
But, for now, the humans won, 59 ideas to 5.
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* The meeting was the Washington DC Liberating Structures Community of Practice. If you are new to Liberating Structures, check it out! Come and see how these easy to learn activities can help your group work better together! We meet online the second Wednesday of the month. All are welcome!
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