Groups meet not only to get work done, but also to build relationships and the social capital required for successful collaboration after the meeting. However briefly, this human need for interaction with others should always be factored into your meeting.
Remember though, that the key to focused and productive meetings is the reason you are meeting in the first place. Be clear on your meeting purpose from the start. Generally, most meetings fall under three broad types of purposes:
1. To inform and update participants. (Typical Length: .5 to 1.5 hours).
2. To obtain input and/or generate consensus around issues, problems and plans. (Typical Length: 2-3+ hours; sometimes over several weeks/months).
3. To develop and implement strategy and change. (Typical Length: 1-3 days annually; 1-3 hours quarterly).
As you plan your meeting, ask yourself this question: “Why are we meeting and what do we hope will be different as a result?” Having this clarity will greatly assist you in planning your agenda and facilitation processes.
Start your meeting off with a clear explanation of that purpose to participants, for example: “When you walk out, you’ll be current on the status of our top priority projects; your ideas are essential to the resolution of this issue; and, finally, we need to align on new future directions and the plans to achieve them.” If you do need to meet, then being clear on your meeting purpose is the first step in achieving focused and productive meetings.
Call to Action:
The Masterful Facilitation Institute exists to build your confidence and skills as an effective facilitator so you can design and facilitate great meetings – every time, for any purpose. Read the path to Effective Facilitation to get started now.