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How to Keep Meetings Active and Productive

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How to Keep Meetings Active and Productive

by Guila Muir
info@guilamuir.com

As a facil­i­ta­tor, you are respon­si­ble for achiev­ing the meet­ing out­comes, main­tain­ing full par­tic­i­pa­tion, and end­ing on time. How do you main­tain mean­ing­ful, focused con­ver­sa­tion throughout?

These five tips will help.

1.  Play­back.

Reit­er­ate what a par­tic­i­pant has said as closely as you can. Try not to infer mean­ing.“Greg, I’m hear­ing you say that you want this to go a lit­tle more slowly. Did I get that right?”

2.  Con­sol­i­date.

Pull together ideas, show­ing their rela­tion­ship to each other. “As you can see from Juan’s and Cathy’s com­ments, there seem to be enough resources and com­mit­ment to take this on.”

3.  Play Devil’s Advocate.

Dis­agree gen­tly with a participant’s com­ments to stim­u­late fur­ther dis­cus­sion. (Remem­ber, you main­tain your neu­tral role even though you put out the Devil’s Advo­cate state­ment.) “Is that always the case?” “This has worked else­where. What makes this different?”

4.  Relieve Tension.

State what you see calmly and with­out eval­u­a­tion. “Bill and Mary are bring­ing out two dif­fer­ent sides of this issue.” “I see many fur­rowed brows. Let’s take a quick break to reflect on this.”

5.  Change the Process.

Alter the method of par­tic­i­pa­tion. “Let’s break into small groups to see how many alter­nate options you can come up with.”

Try imple­ment­ing these skills in your next meet­ing. Chances are, it will move along faster and be more productive.

Guila Muir is the pre­miere trainer of train­ers, facil­i­ta­tors, and pre­sen­ters on the West Coast of the United States. Since 1994, she has helped thou­sands of pro­fes­sion­als improve their train­ing, facil­i­ta­tion, and pre­sen­ta­tion skills. Find out how she can help trans­form you from a bor­ing expert to a great pre­sen­ter: www.guilamuir.com

© 2010 Guila Muir. All rights reserved.
You may make copies of this arti­cle and dis­trib­ute in any media so long as you change noth­ing, credit the author, and include this copy­right notice and web address.

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