Corporate Path Leadership strongly believes in challenging ourselves with mastering new skills and putting them to the test. Today we’ll focus on meeting facilitation. We’ve all experienced too many meetings (both big and small) where the leader doesn’t have a grasp of smart facilitation and therefore the meetings sink into a swamp of side conversations, no real action items and unclear outcomes. We’re here to help you avoid that.
We recently attended a session run by Leadership Strategies that was the exact mix of detailed content and direct application needed to hone expert facilitation methods.
Here are a few of our take-away learnings that we think you’ll find helpful as well.
#1 – Don’t Underestimate The Amount Of Time Needed To Prep Participants (and Yourself) For Leading a Successful Session
It is easy to assume that if you find the right time and gather the right people that magical discussions will happen. That’s not even close to being true! Spending time with all stakeholders involved in the meeting beforehand will help ensure that everyone knows why they are attending, what their role is, content they should think about in advance, and what landmines might come up in conversation.
“Even in a world of fast-paced decisions, you are better off waiting to hold a meeting for a few days to make sure that the session stakeholders are prepped and engaged before they walk in the room.”-- Ken Giffin
#2 – Warm Up Your Audience
The reality is that our brains need some help to put us in the place to generate ideas. It is similar to the time needed to find a file on your laptop. It takes our brains a few steps and clicks, so to speak, to be ready to provide input. An easy way to help this process is to have the audience visualize how they fit into the brainstorming process. It gives them a boost to pull up those ideas or memories and adds the needed seconds to bring those thoughts forward. Before you begin a brainstorming session, try a visualization exercise with your audience, and watch how much faster the ideas come flowing out!
#3 – End the Session with Agreement on Outcome (and Actions)
We were initially surprised to hear our teacher talk about how you might need an hour for closing a meeting. Most meetings we have experienced do have a wrap up section, but often it is a quick “what did we learn” or “what are the key action items.” The training showed that a long closure, review, and consensus on all key decisions makes sure that the attendees leave with a purpose and understanding of what has been decided, and what is happening next.
We’re excited to put these nuggets of wisdom (and many others) to use in the coming months. What investments and/or learning are you all pursuing for the year? We’d love to hear from you!
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