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  • Kristin Wagler

The power of meeting facilitation



Would you, too, give us an eye roll if we asked about the quality of your meetings?


Sadly, that's probably the most common response we see. And look, we get it: Done wrong, meetings can be exhausting and frustrating. They can feel like a huge waste of time.


But they don't have to.


Shortly before the year ends, Tektit is wrapping up a series of training sessions on the ABCs of meeting facilitation. In two half-day sessions, we demonstrate the power of good facilitation. We walk our participants through the process of preparing and facilitating great sessions, we share a range of practice proven methods and tools and we apply them together straight away.


Impressed by how quickly our participants stepped up their facilitation game and grateful for the positive feedback we received, we decided to continue the training series in 2023.


The next training will take place on January, 25/26th, 2023. Until then, we hope our top 5 meeting facilitation tips provide some inspiration and food for thought:


No.1: Consider the 90% rule

We are with Priya Parker when she states that 90 percent of the success of a meeting is determined by how well it is prepared. No matter if we're talking business sessions or complex diplomatic negotiations, our meetings start way before they begin.


From the meeting purpose you identify, to the tone of the invitation you send, the time and participants you choose and the structure you plan for your meeting: Building the foundation and creating the environment you will later benefit from during your session starts way before your group enters the (virtual) meeting room.


No. 2: Close the door to your meetings

Our mantra when it comes to deciding whom to invite to our meetings: As many as needed, as few as possible.


By all means, go ahead, invite 500 people to a session that purely is about sharing information. And no doubt, open your demo session to whoever would like to learn about what your team has created in the last weeks.


At the same time, we invite you to acknowledge that scientific studies show decision making becomes significantly more difficult in groups larger than 7. Also, we strongly advise not expecting your meeting to become more productive when you have opened an important discussion not only to the primary stakeholders, but the secondary and tertiary, too.


Dare to defend the structure, focus, and trust within your meetings, work against the FOMO and hopelessly packed calendars. Learn to mindfully exclude and dare to close the doors to your meetings.


No. 3: Leave ‘no pain, no gain’ for the gym

Many of us have been trained to think that being professional means keeping up that serious face at all times, being efficient no matter what and leaving our emotions outside the office door.


We believe not only should our meetings be enjoyable and authentic, no they must. Might it be a check-in question at the beginning, adding elements of gamification, choosing a different facilitation method for a change or simply having a laugh together.


Consciously building in moments of enjoyment, allowing all participants equally to be seen and heard and intentionally working towards an atmosphere of emotional safety is what characterizes the meetings of successful groups because it moves us out of the survival mode and straight into collaboration and creativity.


No. 4: Start following the law of 2 feet

If, for whatever reason, you find yourself in a meeting in which you realize you can neither contribute nor will receive information relevant to you in any way: Address it, use your two feet (or clicks) and leave.


We all know, sometimes there are meetings, which might not circle around our favorite topics or need a little more patience than others. For these we tell you: Stay strong and endure!


But if, from a place of reasonable judgment and respect, you think your presence will not add value for anyone involved, it is also part of a good meeting culture to spend your naturally limited time and energy on something else.


No. 5: Own your meetings!

We know how frustrating meetings can become when they lack purpose, structure and outcomes. We also know that not all these deficits might be in your circle of control.


And yet, meetings are not something that happen TO us, they are something that is created BY us - the organizers, the facilitators, and the participants. Only if we all are committed to making our meetings enjoyable and valuable will we actually succeed.


Recognizing room for improvements but not speaking up will not improve a single thing. Being unhappy or complaining without ever taking action would only make you a part of the problem, not the solution.


We encourage you to raise the bar and to ensure and demand all the boxes for successful meetings are being checked and we're here to support if you are unsure about what exactly these boxes are.


If you are interested in the full training agenda, would like to join us for our next Facilitation Basics Training on January 25th and 26th, 2023 or rather find individual dates for your team please reach out to kristin.wagler@tektitconsulting.de


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