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The Master Facilitator Journal | Issue #0012 | July 31, 2001
4,250 subscribers



Logistics Skill

Plan for Meeting Success
Know who should attend, what it's for, what it will get you, and what's to be covered.



The Point?

Studies show that according to those that attend the thousands of meetings held around the globe everyday, the majority of their participants consider them a waste of time. This is typically because little planning and forethought go into the preparation of most meetings. Before conducting any meeting, know its purpose and intended outcomes. Consider who should attend and invite only key stakeholders and decision-makers; decide on length and location; prepare any materials that participants will need to accomplish the objectives; assign roles as needed for recorder, timekeeper, and small-group facilitators. Well in advance of the meeting, prepare and distribute an agenda to all participants that contains clearly defined meeting objectives, outstanding action items prioritized in an order that supports meeting these objectives, timeframes for each agenda item, and who has responsibility for each item. 




You're about to conduct a meeting to determine how to solve an ongoing retention problem at your company. First you ask, who should be involved? Of course you'll want to invite those managers having the greatest problem retaining their people, but also invite those that aren't. You probably should invite a couple of employees, particularly those that are disgruntled. They may know the most about your problem. Invite decision-makers that can actually affect some action or your meeting may be a waste of time. Define your purpose. In this case, it's to uncover reasons your company can't retain its people. Decide on the outcome you would like. Possibly to develop an action plan to reduce attrition by 50% in the next year. Make the outcome big enough to challenge and inspire, maybe only 50% believable. But not so big that it feels completely unattainable. Have relevant data available that defines the physical scope of the problem for logical thinkers, such as retention and recruiting numbers. But don't forget to bring data that supports the human side of the equation. For instance, data showing that 45% of those that leave companies, leave because they're unhappy with their bosses. Prepare and distribute an agenda that allows time for exploration of the problem including processes that will evoke honest impressions. Assign appropriate action items, define the agenda for follow up meetings, and take time to celebrate the accomplishments of the group.

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The next time you have a meeting to conduct or if you have the opportunity to help plan a meeting for which you're a participant, try following some of the above suggestions to create a more powerful and effective meeting. I'm interested in hearing what happened. Please email me your thoughts, stories, and experiences on this issue.



Skill Related Resource
Great Meetings!
: How to Facilitate Like a Pro, by Dee Kelsey, Pam Plumb, Kippy Rudy

Great Meetings is a user-friendly resource book designed to help meeting leaders, facilitators, and participants understand the important steps for planning and facilitating a great meeting. It is also a useful text for facilitation and meeting management training. Topics include: What is facilitation, getting to know your group, preparing for a meeting, designing a great meeting, problem solving process tools, maximizing your group's potential, promoting positive communication, managing conflict, intervening, and using graphics. 

Dee Kelsey and Pam Plumb have provided facilitation, training and process consultation services to hundreds of clients, from small work groups to large corporations, throughout the US and Canada and Europe. Dee and Pam collaboratively created the Certificate Program in Facilitation for the University of Southern Maine in 1993 and have taught it ever since. They wrote Great Meetings! to meet the need for an accessible, friendly book on facilitation. 



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Interactive Forum
Creating Dialogue With Our Readers

In an effort to stimulate discussion on facilitation tips, tools, and processes that are relevant to your interests, we'd like to hear from you. Please post your answers to the questions at on our interactive forum to stimulate discussion on these topics.



If you know someone who might benefit and enjoy this newsletter, please send this link to a friend.  

About the Author: 
Steve Davis is a Business and Life Coach facilitating others to stretch beyond their full potential in their business and personal lives. Please email your stories, comments, suggestions, and ideas. I'd love to hear from you. If you find this newsletter helpful, please forward it to your friends. Thanks for reading! 



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Thank you for reading this issue of the Master Facilitator Journal.  Look for your next issue on Aug 7, 2001. 

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