We definitely see a wide array of meetings here at sparkspace, whether it’s a yearly retreat, a team building event, a personal development day, or a problem solving meeting. With such a wide variety of meetings we also see quite a range of facilitators — from the facilitator who is facilitating their first meeting to those who facilitate for a living. Since we’re around meetings everyday we’ve learned to pick-up on certain traits and facilitator skills which, 9 times out of 10, lead to wonderfully smooth meetings, so I’m going to share the top three best meeting facilitation practices:
- Ask Questions
Facilitators that have been in the game for a while always know the right questions to ask. They’re in contact with the facility, they know where they’re going, they know what the room setup will be, they know what type of materials and equipment are available. This is all because they have asked questions prior to the event. Have you ever gotten to a facility and when you arrive you realize there’s no flip charts, or no speakers for your YouTube clip? How about adaptors, are there any available? Make sure you have a checkoff list of questions to ask your facility. If someone besides the actual facilitator is booking the offsite make sure they know what items are needed, setup requirements, and any special request from the facilitator.
- Arrive Early
When guests are arriving before the facilitator it’s normally not a good sign, ever. Now, everyone has someone on their team that rises with sun and loves to get to wherever they’re going before everyone else, this is not who I’m talking about. If the meeting is scheduled to start at 9, and the facilitator is showing up at a quarter ’til 9, then that is what we’re talking about. The most calm, cool, and collected facilitators are the ones who have arrived early, have all their materials and equipment are setup, and are confidently waiting the arrival of the participants.
- Stay On Schedule
If you’ve hung in with me so far, than you’ve likely read a couple of my past posts on the importance of agendas. So you probably know that you should have one prepared for your next meeting, right? 😉 Well, having an agenda is a great way to stay on track, but it can also backfire if you don’t stay on track. The entire team now knows that “xyz” was suppose to be wrapped up by 2pm, and it’s now heading toward 3pm, and you have 3 more topics to cover! I know it can be difficult to stay on point, but great facilitators are able to do this well. Keeping side conversations out of the discussion by circling back around after the meeting, knowing how to silence the “talkers”, and knowing the material and presentation well are all ways to stay on schedule.
Are you a facilitator that is always prepared? Do you know an awesome facilitator? Do you have any awesome facilitation tips? Please share what makes this facilitator the BEST. What do they do to create the Best Meeting Ever?