“Thank you for keeping our meeting on track. The rest of us could not have had as enjoyable a time at the meeting if it had not been for you.”
—Norman Sondheimer, Director of Information, Computing, and Communications Technology, UTC Research Center
Examples of meetings we facilitate
We facilitate all types (in terms of size, length, audience, and purpose). In some we contribute subject matter expertise; in others, we focus exclusively on process.
Creating a vision, mission, or values statement
Determining priorities/goals for the next year
Conflict resolution between departments or individuals
Feedback between a manager and his or her staff
New ideas about products, customers, or markets
And, of course should you ever need a speaker . . .(keynote speeches)
We specialize in different ways of thinking and communicating—adding up to smart, energized performance. So meetings interest us.
Whenever you pull people out of the office and into a meeting, you’re making an investment—and taking a risk. Our goal is to maximize your investment, minimize your risk.
We do this by paying attention to the two sides of any meeting: content and process.
Content vs. Process
Content is the what. It’s the agenda of the meeting. Hopefully, most participants have at least a vague sense of what the meeting is about while it’s going on, although they may not remember a thing later.
Process is the how. It’s the way communication flows (or doesn’t), the tone and formality, the pace, the amount of participation and interaction, the seating arrangement, whether people move around and circulate—all of this creates a certain atmosphere and energy level.
While content is the visible part of the meeting, process is less visible. But both are critical.
A management retreat consisted of the usual series of speakers, one after another, giving slide presentations. There were lots of slides. Occasionally, someone in the audience asked a question.
The format didn’t seem unreasonable, given the never-ending challenge of too much information, too little time.
But by mid-morning, if you glanced around the room, you saw trouble. The audience was barely awake; they looked more like prisoners than “participants.” And then it happened—the meeting leader said four words: “let’s take a break.”
Suddenly the room erupted, people leapt from their chairs and rushed for the door. It was like a prison break! And they escaped. For 10 minutes.
Then they came back, and the weariness resumed. Although the agenda got covered, the audience was never involved. Post-meeting impact? Zero . . .
What could have been done differently? For 27 suggestions to make this, or any meeting, more energized, please click: details
We can help you before, during, and after your next meeting to get the results you want.
Before the meeting, we can help you:
Think through your objectives, agenda, and design options
Coach speakers on presentation skills
Coach discussion leaders on facilitation techniques
During the meeting, we can:
Facilitate the entire thing (so you’re free to participate), or lead certain segments
Observe from the sidelines, and provide objective suggestions
Conduct small group breakouts
After the meeting, we can help you:
Evaluate what worked
Identify opportunities for improvement
Plan next steps