If you regularly chair your own meetings, you’ll know how difficult it is to not only run and contribute but also manage the people in the room.
Using an independent facilitator can free you up to focus on the content and ultimately make your meetings more productive.
Meeting facilitation is a service we are increasingly asked for so we thought it would be useful to share with you some of the benefits our clients have experienced.
An independent meeting facilitator, as someone who isn’t emotionally connected to either the content being discussed or the people in the room, is able to:-
1. Stop things going off track by managing the ‘parking lot’ – the list of items agreed to be discussed at a later date. Also, summarising a point and bringing the discussion back to the original item.
2. Ask the dumb question as someone independent of the team and with limited or no knowledge of the content. This can either be sensitive questions others might be reluctant to ask or alternatively, questions no one else would have thought of because they are so steeped in the detail they have lost the ability to see the ‘big picture’.
3. Encourage the more reluctant (either through shyness or disengagement) members of the team by watching body language and noticing what people don’t say as well as what they do.
4. Summarise effectively, taking all views in to account – we can all be guilty of selective hearing and if you are emotionally connected to the content, you are more likely to ‘hear’ the views you agree with and filter out those you disagree with. Using a facilitator gives a better chance of summaries being an accurate reflection of views around the table.
5. Leave others to focus on the content, ensuring that the meeting is managed effectively. This means the obvious things like making sure everyone’s views are aired and taken in to account, keeping time, sticking to the agenda and allocating ownership for action items. Also some less obvious, but equally, if not more important, things such as managing personality clashes, power struggles or those with hidden agendas.
6. Challenge the views of the leader in a way that other team members may be reluctant to do.
7. Give independent feedback after the meeting, perhaps pointing out things others may not have seen and suggesting changes.
8. Mediate discussions between different personality types who might otherwise ‘clash’
Having an independent person to facilitate meetings can free up your time and energies as a leader to focus on the task in hand. This in turn means more efficient and productive meetings and ultimately, more profit.
Until next time.