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Seven Steps for Effective Meeting Facilitation

Keep in mind that before you attempt to facilitate your meeting you should adequately prepare beforehand. Adequate preparation will help ease your fears and boost your confidence level so that you can administer an effective and productive meeting.

If you haven’t yet, at some point in your life you may be called upon to facilitate a meeting for your job, school, church, or other social event.  Keep in mind that before you attempt to facilitate your meeting you should adequately prepare beforehand.  Adequate preparation will help ease your fears and boost your confidence level so that you can administer an effective and productive meeting.  Perhaps you might feel uncomfortable about standing and speaking before an audience if you have never done so before. Not to worry, even the most skilled facilitators still may get butterflies and/or feel apprehensive about presenting information before a group.  Indisputably, leading a group and speaking before an audience is not as easy as it looks. Moreover, your role as a facilitator is to exhibit effective leadership skills while engaging your participants.  That is…you will need to promote a collaborative relationship with the group. Examine and apply this modus operandi to help make your next meeting facilitation a success.

Step 1

Advanced Preparation- Advance preparation is key to a successful meeting. You should prepare your meeting agenda sufficiently prior to your scheduled meeting. In an effort to improve your facilitation skills, you might want to practice speaking in front of a mirror or before your friends and family to obtain constructive feedback. You should also assemble your needed materials such as flip chart, marker board, handouts, audiovisual equipment, laptop, sign-in sheet, writing instruments, etc. ahead to time.  Visit the designated meeting area beforehand to ensure that the seating arrangement and the set-up are accurate. Familiarize yourself with the topic and be prepared to competently facilitate the meeting.

Step 2

The Introduction- Make sure you arrive at the designated meeting location before your participants. If your meeting is scheduled to begin at 8:30 you should arrive by 8:15. Before you begin the meeting process, be sure to introduce yourself and any other individuals who will assist you in facilitating the meeting.  Convey the purpose of the meeting to your group and your desired goals and objectives.  Get aquatinted with your participants (if new) either by name tags and/ or verbal introduction. You may want to use this time to distribute relevant handouts and invite your group to help themselves to refreshments that you have provided.

Step 3

The Topic- Articulate your words so that your group members can clearly comprehend the intended message while sustaining eye contact and demonstrating well-mannered body language before your audience. You should demonstrate a friendly demeanor and a healthy sense of humor. Observe your participant’s behavior to recognize and meet their needs. But stick to your agenda and determine how much time you have to spend on your topic(s). Utilize visual aids for more effective facilitation.

Step 4

Demonstrate Active listening- Allow ample time for your participants to give their input while listening attentively to each individual. You should also try to remain neutral and avoid trying to influence your opinion.  Ask open-ended questions to allow for fresh ideas and suggestions from responders.  Bear in mind that good communication is vital is for a productive meeting.

Step 5

Engage Your Participants- Encourage group participation by allowing your participants to role-play. Ask for volunteers or else you can appoint someone to elaborate and render pertinent feedback on topic discussions. You should encourage innovative thinking. Foster an atmosphere that makes everyone feel comfortable about offering his/her views. If you find that the group is moving away from the agenda, you will need to effectively redirect them back toward the topic. Also, if needed, you should appoint someone to take minutes and thus be responsible for compiling and distributing the information to every group participant in a timely manner after the meeting.

Step 6

Be Cognizant of the Time- Be time conscious of the timeframe allotted for meeting.  Just as you should start the meeting on time, you should likewise end on time.  This will show your participants that you are respectful of them and value their time.   And remember to allow for topic reviews and feedback from your group members…so you should start wrapping things up approximately 15-20 minutes prior to the scheduled ending time.

Step 7

Recap- Lastly, aforementioned you should review the topic(s) discussed at the meeting.  This is the time to summarize the meeting topic, discussions, ideas and suggestions. Were your goals and objectives met?  Will you need to have a follow-up meeting on this same topic?  What is the next step? You should invite your participants to ask questions and you should answer any questions as efficiently as possible.

At the close of the meeting, be sure to thank your group for being a part of the meeting.  Tell them how much you enjoyed conducting the meeting and learning from them as well. 

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Comments (7)

Really effective and methodical steps for meeting facilitation.

Facilitating meetings is a challenging task. Thanks for the guide.

Well done.

Bookmarked. Facilitating meetings is really hard for me. This will help me a lot. Thanks!

Active listening... one great point and its amazing how many of us don't do it!

thanks for the tip

Excellent tips as always. Meeting is indispensable in promoting teamwork as it should be.

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