How to Keep Meetings Active and Productive
by Guila Muir
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.
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?”
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.
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