Submitted by ramiska on
After listening to the MT podcasts, I realized that our meetings are way too loose. I volunteered to my manager to facilitate a weekly meeting. He accepted my offer. :?
I have never facilitated a meeting before and have rarely been witness to one done properly. I plan to meet with my manager (the meeting leader) to discuss with him prior to the next meeting. This meeting has never had a true agenda but there is a topics list from which the lead will update the rest. I will suggest a time-based agenda and I love the parking lot.
Any suggestions for what else I should bring to the table? How to communicate ground rules? etc?
The ground rules are best if it's something everyone can agree to - especially if it's a standing meeting. Set aside time just to set those rules up. It's a one time discussion, generally.
The key to being a facilitator is to NOT be a contributor. Your energy and effort should be focused on keeping to the agenda, ensuring voices are heard, etc. If you cross over into the "content" then you risk your role as facilitator.
1. Here's how to handle groundrules. Put it on the first meeting agenda, 10 mintues long, and tell everyone you're going to "brainstorm" (listen to THAT cast) good meeting practices. Have your own ready to offer (the 10 prescriptions in the cast are a GREAT place to start). Whatever is on your list that the group doesn't suggest, YOU add it during quiet moments of the brainstorm). Once you've got a list that you like, end it, and say to everyone, "okay, here they are!" and repeat the major ones. Then post them.
2. Describe your role as facilitator. "I will be in charge of the meeting PROCESS. I won't make any content comments. MY job is to keep us on time, and make sure we make it through the agenda. I may have to stop you if you go over your time, but I'll do it nicely. This allows YOU to worry about the content...I'll take care of the timing.
3. Be wiling to speak up. It's worth it, and they WILL respect you. If your meeting leader doesn't back you up, challenge him afterwards, and threaten to quit. You need to be seen as speaking with his or her authority without having an agenda of your own.
4. Speak confidently. Ignore all the eye rolls and push back. Everyone else will LOVE you for it, promise.
I facilitated my first meeting today. I went well. I received some positive feedback from a couple attendees. About half-way through, my manager looked at the agenda, the clock, then me. He smiled and said "right on time."
I had to cut people short a couple of times and saw no real push-back. They respected the position I was in. Since we've never really had proper meetings in the past, I was impressed by this fact alone.
Thank you all for your input. There is still more I'd like to improve upon in this meeting but I opted to take it easy on the changes for my first go-round. Having a time-based agenda, parking lot, and a person watching the clock was a galactic improvement.
Congratulations on a job well done!
Thanks for letting us know how it went Ramiska. And as M&M always say, credit goes to the one doing the work, that's you!
It's amazing how people don't mind the meeting running well. Even the people you think wouldn't stop talking no matter what, they love it too! Sure, M&M said this would be the case, but come on, how could they have known? :wink:
Hey, this stuff works!
[quote="mahorstman"]2. Describe your role as facilitator. "I will be in charge of the meeting PROCESS. I won't make any content comments. MY job is to keep us on time, and make sure we make it through the agenda. I may have to stop you if you go over your time, but I'll do it nicely. This allows YOU to worry about the content...I'll take care of the timing.[/quote]
Any tips on how to handle this if you are supposed to be the facilitator but are also a contributor? Perhaps rotate the facilitator role between different people each week?