Creating intelligent life (at meetings)

I read an interesting article in The Boston Globe today about the intelligence of groups -- which, it turns out, has nothing to do with the average intelligence of the group's members or how smart the smartest person in the group is. Instead, the research so far shows

A group’s motivation, satisfaction, and unity were unimportant. Instead, the researchers found that when a group had a high level of collective intelligence, the members tended to score well on a test that measured how good they were at reading other people’s emotions. They also found that groups with overbearing leaders who were reluctant to cede the floor and let the others talk did worse than those in which participation was better distributed and people took turns speaking. And they also found that the proportion of women in the group was a predictor of collective intelligence — a factor they believe was likely influenced by women’s generally superior social sensitivity.

I'd eat up this type of research if I planned teambuilding, sales, or other meetings that hope to result in more successful teams or solidify a working group into an intelligent community. But even if your meeting's goals are simply to disseminate information, I'd pay attention to the part about having one person dominate the discussion instead of inviting more participation. That may be fine for getting the word out about something, but if you want them to be able to do something with the information later as a professional group, you may want to rethink using a lecture format. Just saying...

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