Carolyn Browne Tamler

has helped hundreds of businesses and organizations with her thoughtful facilitation and research services. She also writes colorful and compelling articles about new business initiatives! Would this help you? Call Carolyn today!

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    7-23-15 Guidelines for facilitating a productive meeting

    As a professional facilitator, it's sometimes difficult for me to participate in a meeting where I feel there is a lot of talk not related to what needs to be accomplished. It's also frustrating to hear people who want to dominate and direct the discussion according to their own opinions and ideas rather than sticking to the topics being presented.

    Here are my suggestions for having a meeting that will be productive and make people feel it was a worthwhile use of their time:

    • Have a set of clear goals for what the meeting is intended to accomplish;
    • Create a simple agenda and follow followed it as much as possible;
    • Allow people to contribute their ideas, but keep people focused on the main goals of the meeting;
    • Plan two hours for the meeting, so that people will have a little time to socialize at the beginning, but the meeting itself is to be limited to no more than an hour and a half
    • Keep everyone focused on the agenda and assure that no single voice dominates.

    One of my favorite tools is having people volunteer ideas that I can “laundry-list.”  When everyone seems satisfied that all of the ideas have been listed, invite people to come up and choose three (or five, depending on how long the list is) as their top priorities.

    Every time I use this tool – listing ideas and having people prioritize – I am always pleased that there is a clear consensus on three, four or five items. This provides tangible results that can be passed along or used for making decisions.

    My overall goal is to have everyone leave a meeting smiling and feeling confident and comfortable that they were able to share their ideas, hear what others had to say and feel that their time was honored and well spent.

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