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Problem-Solving Meeting Practice: Saving Adolescents

Bad grades, defiant attitudes, odd clothes, withdrawal from school activities, little communication with parents—typical teen behavior or warning signs? After a nine-year study, The Carnegie Council on Adolescent Development reported that the nation is neglecting young adolescents to the extent that half of our 19 million+ population may not be able to lead productive lives!

The report, Great Transitions, focused on 10- to 14-year-olds which a 27-member panel of scientists, scholars, and others described as being most in need of guidance and support at a time when parents and society find dealing with them perplexing. Children entering adolescence try to become more independent through new behavior and activities just when parental involvement in school and their influence in young lives decrease. Three-fourths of parents surveyed stated high and medium involvement with their nine-year-olds, while more than half make this claim with 14-year-olds.

Recommendations of the report? Parents need to maintain their involvement with young teens with the help of their employers in creating time to do this. Youth groups need to reach out to adolescents. Schools could better meet the developing needs of this age group, and health professionals should be better attuned in order to treat them. Finally, the media needs to tone down violence, sex, and drug use by emphasizing the downside of these, rather than glamourizing them.

Add to this a contribution from Joseph Califano, Director of the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse, that details which teens are more or less likely to use drugs.

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Your assignment: Create a meeting agenda, complete with objective, for a problem-solving discussion of these issues. Choose a discussion format, and plan a meeting which should produce a consensus of five specific suggestions for your community. Practice conducting this meeting with a group of friends or persons interested in this topic.

AGENDA FOR PROBLEM-SOLVING MEETING

Meeting Objective:

Logistics

Date:

Time:

Location:

Meeting Members

1. Leader:

2. Attendees:

Meeting called by:

Phone:

Agenda Item

Process

Time

Who's Responsible

       
       

Outline for Problem-Solving Meeting

Opening

Figure out an interesting opening, just as you did earlier. Then reintroduce yourself; remind participants of your topic and why they should be interested in it (What's in it for them?). (30 sec.)

Background

State your objective and outline previous meetings. (1 min.)

Topic Statement

State your problem-solving meeting objective. Then describe the problem thoroughly, giving attendees sufficient information that they can produce viable ideas. (1–2 min.)

Preview

Reveal your plan for conducting the discussion (what format, group designation, time limits for discussion) and what all should do when they finish. (1–2 min.)

Body

Signal small groups to start OR start discussion yourself if you are using the ordinary group technique. If small-group discussion techniques are used, allow time for groups to report the results of their discussions. Visit each group to check progress and understanding and ask for questions.

When allotted time is up, call groups to order and ask them to report/record their suggestions so that total group can hear/see. If using ordinary group technique, ask whole group to come up with suggestions. (Time dependent on topics.)

Connectives

Keep discussion moving, and continually relate what is said back to the problem. Don't let the discussion drag.

Conclusion

Synthesize areas of consensus or disagreement. As participants talk, try to understand what they are suggesting and TELL YOUR RECORDER WHAT TO WRITE. Compose five alternatives for use in the decision-making meeting (with the help of attendees). Repeat the selections and ask for agreement. Adjourn meeting.

AGENDA FOR PROBLEM-SOLVING MEETING

Meeting Objective:

Logistics

Date:

Time:

Location:

Meeting Members

1. Leader:

2. Attendees:

Meeting called by:

Phone:

Agenda Item

Process

Time

Who's Responsible

       
       

PROBLEM-SOLVING MEETING CRITIQUE

LEADER:

OBSERVER:

PTS. POSSIBLE: 45

PREPARATION:

   

Professional appearance

(3) _____

Detailed agenda

(3) _____

PRESENTATION:

   

OPENING:

Attention-getting opener

(1) _____

 

Reintroduce self & topic

(1) _____

BACKGROUND:

Previous talk (3 main points)

(1) _____

TOPIC STATEMENT:

Fully describe problem/importance

(5) _____

PREVIEW:

Tell how discussion will be conducted (time limits? groups? overall plan?)

(3) _____

BODY:

Conduct discussion

 
 

Encourage participation from all

(1) _____

 

Keep discussion moving

(1) _____

 

Summarize viewpoints periodically

(3) _____

 

Elicit opinions/alternatives from all

(2) _____

 

Synthesize consensus or disagreement

(3) _____

CONCLUSION:

Ask group for five major alternatives

(3) _____

 

Memorable close to meeting

(2) _____

PERFORMANCE:

   
 

Enthusiasm/vitality/creativity

(4) _____

 

Use of visual aids

(2) _____

 

Use of Recorder

(1) _____

 

Use of Facilitator

(3) _____

 

Time management (15–20 minutes)

(3) _____

 

TOTAL POINTS EARNED

 

Comments:

OBSERVATION SHEET for Problem-Solving Meeting

PRESENTER:

OBSERVER:

5—Excellent 4—Good 3—Average 2—Needs work 1—Poor

PERSONAL PREPARATION

1.

Appropriate business attire

5

4

3

2

1

2.

Voice quality/tone

5

4

3

2

1

3.

Voice audibility

5

4

3

2

1

4.

Confidence displayed

5

4

3

2

1

PRESENTATION PREPARATION

5.

Good organization

5

4

3

2

1

6.

Meaningful topic/key point development

5

4

3

2

1

7.

Attention-getting opening/closing

5

4

3

2

1

8.

Easy-to-follow delivery

5

4

3

2

1

9.

Rehearsed performance

5

4

3

2

1

PROJECTION

10.

Vocal effectiveness (intonation, fillers, pauses)

5

4

3

2

1

11.

Audience interaction/eye contact

5

4

3

2

1

12.

Energy/enthusiasm portrayed

5

4

3

2

1

STRONG POINTS:

WORK ON:

PROBLEM-SOLVING MEETING SELF-CRITIQUE/ SINGLE CONFERENCE REPORT

Name:

General Topic:

Problem for group discussion:

Watch your video of the meeting; type your responses on a separate sheet. Discuss these questions; don't just answer yes or no.

1.

After watching your video, comment on the visual impression you give and the nonverbal image you project. (plus and minus)

2.

How clear are you in introducing yourself, reminding people of your previous talk, and establishing the problem imbedded in your topic? What could you have done better?

3.

How did your discussion go? After your instruction, were the participants clear on what they were to do?

4.

Did you keep the discussion moving and relevant to the problem? Did you relate participants' comments back to the problem?

5.

How well did you define and synthesize areas of consensus and/or disagreement?

6.

What do you want to work on next time?

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