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What is framing in a meeting?

Framing means providing context for thinking about an issue. When people try to make sense of any set of facts, they do so within a mental “frame” based on what they already know, and what they value.

In a meeting, people will bring different frames based on their job functions, their experience, and whatever they last heard. An effective leader will help provide a shared frame for the topic so people can work together effectively. This may include providing background information and defining the meeting’s purpose and desired outcomes clearly.

Often, the way to get an unproductive discussion back on track or to break through an impasse is to reframe the issue. A facilitator might do this by summarizing what’s been said so far, then reminding the group of the their goal. Or a participant might share a different point of view that changes the group’s frame.

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