Part one of this series covered what you should do before a meeting. Episode #051 is part 2, which covers what you should do during a meeting.
Actions taken before and after meetings are generally completed on your own time, without unexpected events. However, there are many potential distractions and employee personalities to consider while the meeting is underway.
Questions 6-12 arm you with the tools required to become an effective meeting facilitator:
6. Why should you greet each person as they arrive?
7. How will you be introduced, and how will you establish credibility?
8. Why should you explain the agenda at the beginning of the meeting?
9. Why have each person introduce themselves and say why they are present?
10. How will you help people disagree productively?
11. How will you keep the energy up during the meeting?
12. Why should you summarize ideas frequently and praise people?
In Part 3, we’ll cover the best actions to take after the meeting is overto make sure you’ve covered every base.
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00:00 – Show Opening
Are you a professional who wants to become a more effective leader? Then get ready for daily tips from the coach with the experience and inspiration to help you succeed in any leadership situation. You’re listening to the Meeting Leadership Podcast with Gordon Sheppard.
00:27 – Podcast starts here
Welcome to another episode of the Meeting Leadership Podcast where we give you the practical tips and the strategies that you need to run outstanding meetings and build your leadership skills. If you already like running meetings or maybe you’re in that position where you’ve got to ramp up really, really quickly, you’re going to get a lot out of this episode because today we’re going to be tackling part two of how to be a good facilitator.
00:52 – Part 2: What facilitators should do during a meeting
This episode is just one of a three part series that I’ve put together to help you grow your facilitation skills. In part one, that was in episode 44, we covered what facilitators should do before a meeting. Today, in part two, we’re going to go over what facilitators should do during a meeting. And finally in part three, in episode 58, we’re going to go over what facilitators should do after a meeting.
01:17 – 15-questions download – https://meetingleadershipinc.com/44download
To help you learn these facilitation skills, I’ve prepared a list of 15 questions that you will need to answer if you want to be a good facilitator. If you’d like a copy of that list so you can follow along, then just go to MeetingLeadershipInc.com/44download, that’s /44download. For anybody who didn’t get a chance to listen to part one of how to be a good facilitator, in that episode, I asked you to give yourself a rating for where you’re at and where you’d like to go, out of 10. If you gave yourself kind of a five out of 10 and you think you can get to an eight in terms of skill level, then keep that in mind as you’re moving forward through these trainings.
01:58 – Question #6 – Why should you greet each person as they arrive?
Now let’s jump right in with question number six from our 15 question list. It’s this, why should you greet each person as they arrive? Well, I can speak from my own experience because quite often I get hired to come in and facilitate meetings. For me, what happens is, I don’t know the people quite often. I need instant rapport. I need to be able to make a small connection probably in like 20 seconds with each person as they arrive. This allows me then to kind of already create fabric in that meeting that will actually have a direct impact on the flow of ideas and conversation. But of course for so many of you listening right now, you are in regular meetings. Maybe it’s the weekly staff updates meeting, maybe you’re meeting once a month with your team. How can you make sure that you don’t get stuck in a rut in those regular meetings? Well, I think one of the things that you can think about is that the most interesting people in the world are those who are the most interested. Continue to ask probing questions.
02:58 – Question #7 – How will you be introduced, and how will you establish credibility?
Make sure you find out about what their passions are. Maybe it’s about their kids or their parents or their vacations, because establishing that little bit of rapport really starts to fill in the emotional piece that people are bringing into the room in every meeting that you’re in. If you can do this, then you will be bringing your facilitation skill level up a notch from a six to a nine, which leads me into question number seven. How will you be introduced and how will you establish credibility?
Well, I can tell you again from my own experience, because I speak at conferences or I get brought into professionally facilitate situations, one of the first sentences that you’re going to hear somebody read out about me is that, “This is Gordon Sheppard and throughout his career, 25 years plus, he figures he’s either run or participated in more than 2000 meetings.” Because I was able to crunch that math and put some reality to that claim, that immediately establishes me as a meeting leadership expert, which is exactly what I need to do when I’m in the room.
As the meeting facilitator, what is the thing about you that people need to know that is related to this meeting that will get their attention and really make them listen to you? Let me give you an example. Let’s say you went to your next regular meeting and somebody introduced you and said, “This is Sally. She just did the five day meeting leadership challenge and learned something new about meeting facilitation every day, so now she’s ready to be at her best when she runs our meetings.”
The reason that you might’ve been introduced that way was because your meetings were absolutely a failure before you started to make an effort. Now, through a simple introduction, you have the credibility to move things forward to say, “Hey, we’re not putting up with bad meetings anymore. Let’s get going.” By the way, if you think you might be interested in actually doing the five day meeting leadership challenge, it’s a free opportunity and it’s available at MeetingLeadershipInc.com/Academy.
04:58 – Question #8 – Why should you explain the agenda at the beginning of the meeting?
Now let’s move on to question number eight which is this, why should you explain the agenda at the beginning of the meeting? Well, I think for many people they assume that this is just a given. But if you’ve actually put the time into creating the agenda, this is a chance to kind of show off. Like let’s say for example you went above and beyond making just kind of a list and you had an inspirational quote on there. Well, then when you’re summarizing the agenda out loud at the beginning of the meeting, you can actually hit that quote right away and that will set the tone so you can get the most out of your meeting.
05:31 – Question #9 – Why have each person introduce themselves and say why they are present?
After you have summarized the agenda, then you can get into question number nine which is this. Why have each person introduced themselves and say why they are here? Quite literally, this is the moment as a facilitator where I look at each person, we have a few sentences back and forth and you’re going to hear, as a facilitator, whether or not that person is prepared or not. Instead of just staying focused on the meeting topic, when you actually get people to introduce themselves, there’s another fun thing you can do. You can say, “Tell us something about yourself that we actually don’t know.”
This is a great way to help your team get to know each other because you’re going to find out things about people that really are quite surprising, passion for travel. There was a senior executive who actually revealed that they were just in love with lead guitar one time. These types of fun things come out and I think it’s really valuable when you’re coming together, and as a facilitator, it’s really going to help you to set the tone for a significantly better meeting.
06:30 – Question #10 – How will you help people disagree productively?
Of course we all know that there are many different personalities in the room, which leads us into question number 10 which is this, how will you help people disagree productively? Of course facilitating conflict is really kind of a lifelong pursuit, but I’m going to give you two quick tips that you can put into your ground rules and I suggest you actually put those ground rules right onto your agenda.
The tips for disagreement are this. One, if there’s a disagreement, a passionate disagreement, a fight, whatever you want to call it, you make sure that one person speaks. That’s literally one of the rules that you’ll announce. The second thing that you’re going to have as a rule is, we’re going to make it about the issue and not about the person. This creates safety and it is a way to be productive around disagreements because people then will know that they can vocalize, they’re not going to get interrupted and it’s not going to be personal.
07:24 – Question #11 – How will you keep the energy up during the meeting?
The next question in our list really has to do with how long the meeting is, because question number 11 is this. How will you keep the energy up during the meeting? To help you with this, I want to make two quick suggestions. One, you can just ask everyone to stand up. Let’s say it’s, I don’t know, 90 minutes in to a three hour meeting. I mean, quite literally stand up, stretch, get the blood moving. Many people respond really, really well to this.
The second suggestion that I have for keeping the energy up comes from a very basic premise of my work. If you’ve heard this before, I hope you don’t mind hearing it again, because I believe that you should be able to stop any meeting at any moment and connect that moment directly to your strategy. I believe this so strongly, I always say it twice. I believe you should be able to stop any meeting at any moment and connect that moment directly to your strategy. If you’re facilitating a long meeting and the energy is dipping, you can actually go and say, “Wait a second, we have a strategic objective that we’re trying to get through in this meeting, and you’re talking about cat videos? Come on folks, let’s sharpen up and make this meeting worthwhile.”
08:31 – Question #12 – Why should you summarize ideas frequently and praise people?
Finally we come to question number 12, why should you summarize ideas frequently and praise people? I think as a facilitator, if you take a moment to consider kind of basic psychology of people in meetings, really, folks are there to talk about their idea. They’re kind of often really into themselves in a sense. When you are facilitating and summarizing kind of each point along the way, it allows them to really feel heard. That also then feeds into setting a positive tone and praising them at the right moment for a job well done. Of course summarizing and praising people will also help you keep the energy up throughout the meeting.
09:15 – Recap of Questions 6-12
Now let me take a moment to recap the seven questions that we’ve covered here in this episode today. Number six, why should you greet each person as they arrive? Number seven, how will you be introduced and how will you establish credibility? Number eight, why should you explain the agenda at the beginning of the meeting? Number nine, why have each person introduced themselves and say why they are here? Number 10, how will you help people disagree productively? Number 11, how will you keep the energy up during the meeting? And number 12, why should you summarize ideas frequently and praise people?
Gordon Sheppard: As a reminder, you’ve been listening to part two of how to be a good facilitator. Part one is featured in episode 44. Part three is featured in episode 58. You can get those episodes by going to MeetingLeadershipInc.com/44 or /58.
10:16 – Meeting Leadership Academy – https://meetingleadershipinc.com/academy
If you’d like to learn even more about how to be a good facilitator, then check out the course offerings at the Meeting Leadership Academy. Other topics that are going to be covered there are going to include building blockbuster agendas, leadership development, and a whole lot more. You can learn all about that by visiting MeetingLeadershipInc.com/Academy. And as always, thank you so much for listening and we’ll see you tomorrow on the Meeting Leadership Podcast.
10:37 – Podcast Outro
Thanks for listening to the Meeting Leadership Podcast. Be sure to subscribe for more strategies to help you become an outstanding leader. And don’t forget to rate and review so we can bring you fresh content every day. We’ll see you tomorrow right here on the Meeting Leadership Podcast.
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Links From This Episode
- Download for 15 questions – https://meetingleadershipinc.com/44download
- MLP 051: How To Be A Good Facilitator – Part 1 – https://meetingleadershipinc.com/44
- MLP 058: How To Be A Good Facilitator – Part 3 – https://meetingleadershipinc.com/58
- Meeting Leadership Academy – https://meetingleadershipinc.com/academy
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