People's opinions can quickly derail a meeting and stop the group from making a decision. Google Ventures has a technique to get to good decisions in 15 minutes, which they call the "Note and Vote" method.
Here's how it works: each person gets a pen and some paper. In five minutes (set a timer), they write down as many ideas as they can, without discussing with anyone else. This list isn't shared, so anything goes. Next, set a timer for two minutes where everyone picks one or two of their favourite items from the list. Throughout this, no one speaks.
Next, each member says their best idea aloud, without any justification or elaboration. Say what you wrote. Move on. One person captures all ideas on a whiteboard.
Set a five-minute timer again, and this time each person writes down one favourite idea from the whiteboard -- no talking. Once the timer goes off, take turns to say what you wrote and tally it up.
Finally, the boss at the meeting takes a call based on the votes. It needn't be the majority opinion, but this mechanism ensures everyone was heard before the boss made a decision.
Read the full article below by Jake Knapp, a design partner at Google Ventures, to find out why this system works. He also notes that this method isn't always going to get the best decision, but it will get you "pretty good decisions" and do it faster than most techniques.
"Note And Vote": How Google Ventures Avoids Groupthink In Meetings [Fast Co. Design]