Taking the Pain out of the Meeting
Few things are as powerful as a group of
dedicated people with a common cause.
Law of Success: When in trouble, use the group to solve the problem.
Your job: harness that potential and make it productive.
Know the Big Picture
How to conduct a meeting for success – begin with a plan. Incorporate the 7 tips to a great meeting, followed by some key lessons learned.
Consider Various Types of Meetings
Form follows function.
Why are you gathering? Simple question, but too often the Monday morning meeting slithers into a flat repeat of the previous week, with different data. A plain status report.
Meetings for a straightforward report of status should be brief OR embellished with other interesting content that intices those present.
Possible types of meetings
- problem solving
- idea generation
- clarification of an issue (question and answer or briefing)
- information sharing
- progress assessment (including team health assessment or how-goes-it)
- combination of the above
Shake it Up a Little
Get the group more involved by including an icebreaker.
Transform the gathering into a teaming opportunity.
Use a tool to assess what is working and what is not to map out actions for change and involve everyone in some continuous improvement.
Have the facilitator role assigned to someone in the group.
(See list below for using a certified professional facilitator or corporate facilitator for your meeting)
Train the Participants to Help Out
Award points to participants that take ownership in making the meeting pointed and well-flowing. Listen for productive statements like:
- It sounds like we have reached a conclusion.
- We just heard several ideas for solving this. Can we write those on the white board?
- I have heard the same thing 3 times. Let’s acknowledge that and move on.
- We are onto a tangent from the objective of this meeting. Let’s capture that as a “parking lot” issue.
- In the remaining 10 minutes that we have …
- I hear an agreement among the group. Let’s document that.
- Where are we on the agenda?
- What is our desired outcome of this discussion?
When to Use an Outside Professional
Critical meetings should always be facilitated. This leaves the leader free to indulge himself in the content, without worrying about the process and leaving the meeting with the objective unaccomplished.
Reasons to use a professional facilitator:
- Run the meeting so you do not have to worry about “process”
- Incorporate proven techniques that make a meeting productive
- Ensure desired goals are met during a meeting
- Allow an outside person to play the cop so that internal relationships do not suffer
- Keep the discussions pointed and managed
- Achieve team development and real-time coaching by offering insight
- Allow the team leader to participate and not direct
- Develop Goal-setting for a team with the help of someone that does it all the time
- Set expectations within a group
- Communicate mutual expectations between a team and the people to which they are accountable
- Re-focus a group on a new task
- Re-energize a team
- Benchmark a team’s development against other industries that the facilitator knows
- Manage conflict between parties
- Apply an organized approach to a project
- Learn training tips
- To have FUN!
A well-experienced facilitator is probably also a business consultant as well as an instructional facilitator. This can be an incredible bonus – you get real-time ideas and multi-industry input and ideas on the spot.
Help with Big Meetings
Meeting and event management consultants are adept at setting the right forums for offsites and conventions. At the heart of it, however, should be an experienced professional. (Learnabout us if you are wanting an outside resource to help or a corporate meeting planner.)
Event planning companies should have a solid track record and provide you with references.