Alignment is key.

In the course of a discussion or an exchange of ideas, what would be one resounding message that you want people to remember? What do you want them to take home?

For some, they call it a “big idea”… or it can be a “take-away”.

No matter how we call it, there should be a sense of alignment.

After having a good set-up, creating an environment that asks and listens,  and intentionally adding value to others… discussions become more interesting when there is a sense of alignment involved.

Alignment creates harmony. Harmony is essential in developing healthy groups . Healthy groups are characterized by having healthy discussions. Healthy discussions are easily well-remembered.

We may not always agree with the people we meet (Am I right??), and we may have a ton of things that we want to share within a short span of time… at the end of every meeting, we need to ask ourselves: What do you want this group to remember? What must stick in our minds and left etched in our hearts?

As a leader, I would always hope and aim that I would end every meeting with a good note — whether I’m meeting an individual or a group. It is not perfect, but I try.

It is not because I want people to like me… I just think that, in a world where there is so much bullying and bashing (for both the young and old), I would like to share something positive and leave every conversation with a grateful heart.

Now, how do we do this? First, you have to understand that active listening is very, very helpful. It enables us to discern a recurring issue within the group, an area of concern, a common experience or a shared insight. Many times, I quickly and subtly write a short note on my phone (which has become my instinct) in order for me to remember them.

Then, towards the end, I try to wrap things up (without my notes, of course!) and share these things to the group as an informal review. Be very sensitive though. It doesn’t have to be a sermon. I just try to summarize and mention two or three big ideas.

In this way, I would also know how to pray for the group — both at the end of the meeting (if they’re open to it) and even for the rest of the week in my times of solitude. I also communicate a lesson or insight that can be found within the context of the discussion from which we can all learn from.

Often times, if not always, we all end the gathering with a good deep sigh of relief. It’s like we end with an “a-ha!” moment. We realize that even simple conversations or discussions can turn out to be a learning experience for all of us.

In retrospect, allow me to give you a summary on how we can unlock awesome discussions (you may hover over the outline, click, and each point will lead you to its corresponding post):

I hope this helps you in your current and future interactions with the people you meet. If you have suggestions and certain practices that you have found helpful in your own context , feel free to share them in the comments section below.

Let’s learn from one another.