Taking the human factor into account

 You can balance the contents of an agenda with the time available for the meeting in several ways. While these “structural” elements can go a long way toward improving the atmosphere and effectiveness of the meeting, we also need to consider the human factor in the planning of any agenda.

Each meeting is unique in the sense that the context of the group can change between one meeting and the next.

The spirit of the participants will be affected by factors in their personal lives as well as in their workplace. Any template that is used to plan an agenda (and it is highly recommended to do so – see the free download below) must be subject to modification according to the particular circumstances that surround each group encounter.

Here is a list of some of these “human” aspects to consider when designing an agenda.

Analysis of the group context

The group is
___ Meeting for the first time
___ Meeting again after a long period
___ About to dissolve (this is the last meeting)

The participants
____ All know each other
____ There are some new people
____ Have conflicts with each other
____ Are culturally diverse

The group is
____ In crisis
____ Stuck
____ Under stress, worried
____ Celebrating a victory or mourning a loss

Lately, meetings have been
____ Tedious
____ Not productive
____ Exceeding allotted time
____ Dynamic
____ Very productive
____ Finished on time (or earlier!)

The topics to discuss are
____ Routine
____ Complex
____ Controversial
____ Urgent
____ Important

Other factors to consider

Having analyzed the context, we must ask ourselves, to achieve the objective of this meeting

  • What do we have to keep doing or do more?
  • What do we need to change?
  • Who can help us?
  • Is this meeting really necessary?

About the Author:

Beatrice Briggs is the founder and director of the International Institute for Facilitation and Change, a consulting firm based in Mexico. A Certified™ Professional Facilitator, she puts her years of experience at the service of leaders who want to make their meetings worth the time, talent and money invested in them. A native of the United States, Beatrice has lived in Mexico since 1998, working in both English and Spanish to alleviate the suffering caused by bad meetings wherever they occur.