Latest "Facilitation" Posts
An article in Entrepreneur, 7 Deadly Sins of Business Meetings, reminded me of something that happened to a colleague a few years ago — long before webinars became common as effective remote employee communication business tools.
The issues that Mary ran into have not changed. She’d been recently promoted. As part of her new job duties, she facilitated a weekly sales meeting with regional sales staff, all done by conference call.
As the weeks went by, Mary began to notice that people joined the call later and later, and whenever the weekly meeting came up in conversation, it was increasingly obvious that no one was happy with them – and, in fact, considered them a waste of time. She finally pulled two sales managers aside to determine what was happening.
Virtual Presentation Skills:
Connect With Your Next Remote Audience
Did you know that to be successful, virtual presentations require different tactics than in-person meetings do? That’s because it’s much harder to tell whether or not your audience is truly engaged when you can’t see them.
Let me share a cautionary tale. An insurance exec I know – Pete — was quite confident in his webinar delivery skills – even to the point of arrogance. He often bragged about his virtual facilitation skills to colleagues and supervisors alike. “Webinars? Piece of cake. Everyone loves my webinars.”
I was observing Pete facilitating one of his regular weekly WebEx team meeting when we heard a beep-boop-beep on the line: the sound of a phone being dialed. When he asked who was making that sound, he was met with silence.
I am a firm proponent of the merits of ongoing business coaching for your staff.
Why coaching, you ask? Shouldn’t you just be able to hire a team of superstars, highly qualified and motivated staff who will accomplish your goals? After all, isn’t that what you are paying them for?
Well, perhaps in an ideal world that would be true. Here in the real world, we all have our strengths and weaknesses — in the office and life — and none of us are perfect, nor will we ever be.
Putting together a team that meets management’s objectives or your sales goals will frequently require not just some coaching, but ongoing coaching.
If you tend to shy away from coaching your staff, offering all kinds of excuses as to why it shouldn’t be necessary, maybe you’re simply lacking the skills needed to be a great coach.
Never been in an effective brainstorming meeting? Have no idea of what it could look or sound like? Afraid to open your mouth and say something moronic during team meetings?
You’re not alone. Unfortunately, many of us have participated in meetings that are dull, uninformative, and so-called brainstorming sessions that yielded nothing tangible.
If you are faced with a business challenge, and would like to have a really engaging and productive brainstorming meeting — one that will rev your team up and really get their creative juices flowing — here are nine top tips:
• Invite the most diverse group possible to participate.
• Select a meeting facilitator and a scribe, to write everything down. This could be the same person, or not. The best facilitators give just enough structure to make the meeting flow smoothly — but don’t control or take over.
Chances are that at some point in your career, you’ll either participate in or be asked to lead a brainstorming meeting.
Whether your company needs to break through a block, chart a cutting edge course through not-yet-imagined-innovations, or find brand new ways of lowering costs while upping productivity — brainstorming is a tried-and-true technique.
We can all imagine those intrepid visionaries at Apple and Google sitting around their high-tech conference rooms with their spiffy iPads or Nexus tablets, sipping imported San Pellegrino, and tossing out one genius idea after the next in a waterfall of creativity …
But the fact is, even a brainstorming meeting runs more smoothly with some basic rules. Here’s the main one:
When brainstorming in a meeting, don’t evaluate or comment on the ideas offered.