(by Ava S Butler, ISBN 978-1-32787-038-2)
1: The Foundations
Accomomodating Individual Styles
For meetings to be efficient and successful, facilitators must utilize techniques that reinforce/tap into these different styles. (Internal vs external processors. Those who think by writing. Some require visual aids, some require tactile or hands-on.)
- Visual-Spatial: Use visual aids/diagrams/charts/illustrations. (See "Charting" (12), "Mind Mapping" (29), "Process Flowcharting" (44), "Dots" (56), "Force Field Analysis" (67), "Team Effectiveness Chart" (80)); Ask participants to draw their perspectives ("Art" (13))
- Musical: Use music before the meeting, during breaks, after the meeting, and as a review technique ("Music" (18)).
- Interpersonal: "Small Groups" (20); "Introductions" (1)
- Intrapersonal: Allow quiet time for thinking. Write down ideas independently and silently. ("Writing" (19)) Ask reflective questions ("Shredded Questions" (9), "Open-Ended Questions" (34)). Set personal goals ("Individual Action Planning" (66)).
- Mathematical-Logical: List key points in sequence ("Storyboarding" (30)). Prioritize choices and concerns ("Expectations Survey" (39), "Multivoting" (54), "One Hundred Votes" (57), "Nominal Prioritization" (58)). Analyze issues or choices step by step ("Criteria Matrix" (60), "Force Field Analysis" (67)). Use flowcharts ("Process Flowcharting" (44)).
- Bodily-Physical (Kinesthetic): Write ideas on cards and move them into appropriate categories ("Card Clusters" (31)). Create movement during your meeting ("Movement" (16)).
- Linguistic: Lead focused group discussions ("Content Experts" (45), "SWOTs" (51)). Use analogies and metaphors ("Analogies and Metaphors" (14)).
Attributes of an Effective Meeting Facilitator
- Good sense of humor
- Confidence and Enthusiasm
- Team Player
- High Self-Esteem
- Dedicated to Learning
What about the Participants?
Meeting success is a team responsibility, but not all meetings will be filled with people who will be all over the spectrum. Some will be difficult.
2: Before the Meeting
Planning Yuor Meeting
Premeeting Planning Questions
- What is the purpose and/or goals of this meeting?
- Is a meeting the best way to accomplish these goals?
- Who owns the meeting?
- Who should be involved in planning this meeting?
- What specifical issues/agenda items need to be addressed?
- What information needs to be gathered and disseminated before the meeting?
- How should this information be gathered? By whom?
- Who needs to attend? Of these, does everyone need to attend the entire meeting?
- How should the agenda be ordered to ensure that everyone's time is used wisely?
- What is the best date/location for the meeting?
- What correspondence/paperwork need sto be sent to participants ahead of the meeting?
- What can we do to avoid interruptions during the meeting?
Specific Agenda Item Questions
- What is the overall purpose of each issue or agenda item?
- How, specifically, wille each issue/agenda item be accomplished?
- What are facilitation techniques appropriate for each substep?
- What productivity techniques are required for this meeting?
- What are the time requirements for each issue/agenda item?
- What handouts/overheads/other visual aids need prepration?
- Who should facilitate/present each issue/agenda item?
- How should each issue/agenda item be introduced?
Logistical Questions: What room arrangements and other prep is necessary?
- Physical environment ("Feel" of the room)
- Windows (whenever possible, open the shades)
- Atmosphere (create as bright/energetic atmosphere as possible)
- Room (everyone should be able to have eye contact with everyone else)
- Tables, chairs (numbers, configurations)
- Audio-visual equipment
- Microphones (fixed or roving)
- Audio-video links (incoming)
- Car parking
- Travel arrangements
- Accessibility arrangements
- Internet access
- Name tags/placecards
- Arrangements for messages
- What level of documentation is necessary?
- What is the best way to arrange for meeting notes to be documented and distributed?
- What is the best way to evaluate the effectiveness of your meetings?
Creating Your Agenda
To be consistently successful, you will want to prepare two different agendas for your meetings--one for your meeting participants (which is what goes out as part of the invite) and a more detailed agenda for yourself as a facilitator's guide.
More Inside Information
Setting the Stage: Plan to arrive early to make sure everything is set up the way you expected. Prepare visual aids. Greet people as they arrive.
Expect changes: Things will never go according to plan.
Continuous improvement: Take a few minutes after each meeting to review what went well and what you would do differently. Jot down some notes.
Changing your style
3: Improve Meeting Productivity
Ensure all participants know each other; people will not work as openly if they do not know who is in the room. Include everyone at the beginning of your meeting. They create equal ground and highlight the expectations for participation.
When: When your meeting participants aren't acquainted with each other; when you want to increase participants' knowledge of each other
Allow participants to clear their minds and focus on the meeting. This technique involves participants sharing what they are thinking about/distracted by with the meeting group. Once a person has voiced what is on his/her mind, these thoughts are more easily put aside. Clearing also allows participants to let the other meeting members know in a constructive way if anything is getting in the way of full participation.
When: When participants' other obligations keep their minds on topics other than the meeting; when participants come to the meeting without taking a few minutes to relax or talk together informally
(3) Ground Rules
Ground Rules help establish and maintain acceptable standards of meeting behavior. Discuss and post meeting Ground Rules in a way that continually reminds meeting participants of rules and regulations of the meeting.
- You want to use your meeting time wisely
- You expect conflict because of specific personalities or volatile issues
- The group has a lot to accomplish in a short period of time
- There is a history of unproductive behavior at previous meetings
- A group is working together for the first time
(4) Pulse Check
Pulse Check is a technique to determine the mood, attitude, temperature, or pulse of your group. Ask individuals to articulate their feelings toward a particular issue. Negativity, left unchecked, can feed on itself. For this reason, it is wide to identify and address any concerns proactively. This technique should be used to help you feel the pulse of your group on an issue, positive or negative, so that you can use it to the group's greatest advantage and benefit.
* You want to check how your group feels about a specific issue
* You suspect there will be low energy and enthusiasm for your meeting
* The group has had negative experiences in the past and you want to stimulate more positive experiences in the future
(5) Parking Lot
Non-agenda items always seem to find their way into meetings; it is important to honor and recognize the existence of these important items, but without interrupting the focus/goals of your agenda. Record these tangential issues on paper, ensuring that they will be remembered and addressed, but without interrupting the ongoign conversation. This can be used to support your group's Ground Rules (3) for keeping on track.
- The meeting gets off track with issues worthy of discussion/action but unrelated/tangential to the current agenda item
(6) Verbal Warnings
(7) The Bell
(8) Three P Statements
(9) Shredded Questions
(14) Analogies and Metaphors
(20) Small Groups
4: Boost Creativity and Teamwork
5: Brainstorm Ideas
6: Gather Information
7: Make Decisions
8: Implementing Decisions
9: Evaluate Meeting Effectiveness
Last modified 25 May 2023