Meetings, whether formal or informal, are a part of doing business. Whether internal to your organization or external, your meetings can either be an invaluable opportunity to share ideas, address concerns and come to consensus, or a morale-sapping waste of time and resources. Due to a failure to appreciate and implement fundamental meeting facilitation strategies, all too many end up being a bit of both.
See if any of this sounds familiar:
- Our meetings aren’t discussions so much as a series of speeches
- Our meetings seem to get easily derailed
- Our meetings go off on tangents and get bogged down in personal agendas
- Our meetings aren’t productive – we never get anything done
- Our meetings always seem to go on forever
While these sorts of complaints are commonplace, for critical meetings, they can be disastrous.
A well-prepared meeting facilitator can be counted on to
- Monitor the agenda to be sure all important topics are addressed
- Keep track of the unresolved issues that need to be revisited
- Moderate and focus discussions, keeping participants on target while avoiding distracting tangents
- Defuse disagreements and conflicts
- Balance dominant personalities to ensure all relevant points of view are aired
- Lead break-out problem-solving or brainstorming sessions where appropriate
- Ensure that all the stakeholders are heard and included in the decision making process
Many times, especially in critical or potentially contentious meetings, it’s advisable to bring in outside help. In addition to the experience and expertise needed to run an efficient and productive meeting, our outside facilitators have the advantage of not being stakeholders in the meeting and can therefore bring a new vantage point to situations and issues and can address and contain disagreements and conflicts from a neutral standpoint.
In short, not only can we help your critical meetings be more productive, we bring the credibility of an unbiased chair to what could otherwise be a contentious undertaking