How to make facts trump opinions in meetings

How many meetings have you been at where people have to hold forth with their personal opinion about something, even though those opinions fly in the face of established fact?

Like: I know studies show that serif fonts are five times more readable than sans-serif fonts, but I just think sans-serif is more professional and reflects better on us (etc.)

Some people, a lot really, just have a need to keep talking even after the facts have left them behind.

I think Simone Joyaux has been in a few of those meetings too, as you can see at her blog at Personal opinion instead of body of knowledge.

Simone has a strategy for moving forward before the personal opinion treadmill gets going. Start the discussion by saying …

“This is what we know.” And throw in why we know it if you think that’s helpful. Then say, “So let’s not question the veracity. Let’s not talk about personal opinion. Let’s focus on body of knowledge. And then let’s figure out the implications for our agency and our strategies.

Of course, this means establishing knowledge in the first place. It also means everyone in the room has to agree to let go of their opinions, which is hard to do.

But give it a try. It could save you a lot of time, and keep you from making the same old mistakes over and over again.


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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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Jeff BrooksJeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 35 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com. More.


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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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Jeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 30 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com.

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