The Interaction Method™
"Once you try it, you’ll never go back to meeting the way you did before!"
What is The Interaction Method™?
It’s a collaborative process for working together, better. More specifically, The Interaction Method™ is a facilitated approach for building understanding and agreement so that people can take informed, concerted action on the things that matter most to them.
It started with the idea of a group facilitator.
In 1969, David Straus founded Interaction Associates. An architect by training, David observed that problem-solving meetings were quite ineffective – mostly because people didn’t distinguish between process and content. David suggested that there are four key meeting functions: participation, decision making, process management, and information. Why not assign responsibility for each function to a person – participant, leader, facilitator, and recorder? Collaborating with others, David also popularized the use of a Group Memory – posting butcher paper on a wall and writing down everyone’s ideas with markers!
The use of The Interaction Method™ grew and grew.
By 1990, we had introduced the concept of the group facilitator into hundreds of companies. (The word facilitator even leap-frogged the word trainer at group learning events.) We asked our clients – what does The Interaction Method™ mean to you? They cited dozens of models, skills, techniques, strategies, and illustrative stories. We organized them into four categories.
At the heart of The Interaction Method™ is the principle of Shared Responsibility.
Shared responsibility means that everyone involved in the group process performs a useful function – from the practical task of documenting ideas and agreements to generating group energy.
The spirit of The Interaction Method™ is a Collaborative Attitude.
The more people who come to a meeting ready to work with others — and to aim for a win-win outcome — the greater the likelihood that the group will achieve its goals.
The mental mode of The Interaction Method™ is Strategic Thinking.
People like goals, order, and to see a path to completion. (Actually, our brains like that.) Clear, common sense frameworks and processes help us organize our thoughts and opinions. Collaborative tools help us transform data into information, understand our choices, and make decisions together.
The hands of The Interaction Method™ are the Facilitative Behaviors.
These are the practical tools and positive actions that people use and demonstrate to forward the progress of the group – from active listening, to advocating for our ideas, to creating consensus and reconciling differences.