When NOT to call a meeting

This is a message for those who never chose to be a group facilitator, pharm but nevertheless have had responsibility for meetings thrust upon them

Before your next meeting, drugs take out a piece of paper or open your computer and complete the following four sentences.
1. The purpose of this meeting is to

a. Discuss ___________
b. Decide_____________

If there is nothing important to discuss or decide, do not call the meeting!

2. The people I need in the room for this discussion/decision are: ________________________________________________________________________

If the key people are not available, do not call the meeting!

3. The information needed for this discussion/decision is: ____________________________________________________________________

If the information is not available, do not call the meeting!

4. The time estimated to accomplish the meeting objective is:

a. Less than 1 hour
b. 1-3 hours
c. More than 3 hours
d. Other

If the participants´schedules and workload make it difficult for them to commit to a long meeting, consider spreading the process over several, shorter meetings. But DO set time limits – and respect them!

If you are satisfied that a meeting is necessary and feasible given the human and other resources at hand, then create a simple agenda designed to make the best possible use of the time available.

Unclear on the concept of “Agenda”’?

Theagenda is the map that keeps the group on track, moving toward the agreed upon meeting goals. Adjustments are made along the way to adapt to the emerging realities of the situation, but the agenda is the group´s common reference point. Where are we? Where are we going? How will we get there?

Sample agenda

Here´s an example of a one-hour agenda to discuss (but not necessarily decide) what to do about a given situation:

  • Clarify the purpose of the meeting and present the proposed agenda (10 minutes)
  • Present background information (15 minutes)
  • Generate options for resolving the issue (20 minutes)
  • Define next steps and assign tasks (10 minutes)
  • Set date for next meeting (if needed)
  • Thank the participants and let them get back to their other work!

For more tips on effective agendas, consult the Bonfire articles in the resource section on the IIFAC website . Access is free, but you need tosign in. Look forthe category “effective meetings/agendas.”

Need help deciding when to cancel a meeting? Contact us to schedule a free consultation to discuss your coaching needs.

Good luck with your next meeting!

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Ideal number of meeting participants?

In a recent training on Effective Meetings I was asked, sale | “What is the ideal number of meeting participants?”

My short answer is that there is no ideal number. What really matters is getting the right people in the room, viagra ed meaning those that can make a significant contribution to the discussion.

But then the person asking reframed her question, allergist “What is the maximum number of participants in a meeting?”

I suspect that behind this question lurks the convener´s fear of working with a large group and the common misconception that a small group is easier to manage than a large one.

Think about it. In your experience, is a small group capable of

  • Wasting time?
  • Getting off track?
  • Getting stuck in conflict?
  • Making bad decisions?

By the same token, can you remember a large group that

  • Focused on the key issue at hand?
  • Generated and evaluated ideas?
  • Dealt effectively with conflict?
  • Made good decisions?

The success factor of a meeting is determined by the quality of the planning before the event (including clear objective, well-structured agenda, inviting the right people) and skillful facilitation of the process.

In short, it is not how many should attend but who and why.

Beatrice Briggs
Director, IIFAC

Need help deciding how many people to invite to a meeting? Contact us to schedule a free consultation to discuss your coaching needs.

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Five things I love about being a facilitator

  1. The puzzled expression on people´s faces when I tell them what I do. Of course, health I often wish that group facilitation were a more readily understood occupation. But I love the “teachable moment” that arises when someone asks, “Facilitator? What is that? “
  2. The relief felt by meeting and conference organizers when I agree to help plan and facilitate their event. These clientsare thrilled that a certified professional will advise them on how to make their meeting both participatory and productive.
  3. The cautious optimism of meeting participants when I step forward and introduce myself at the start of an event. These people are hopeful that I will make good use of their time, respect their interventions and save them from “death by PowerPoint”.
  4. The buzz of conversation when meeting participants beginto share their ideas. The moment in which the flow of information stops coming from the front of the room and instead springs from the hearts and minds of those in attendance always brings a smile of satisfaction to my face. The essence of my work is creating the conditions that permit meaningful conversations to occur.
  5. The thoughtful silence just before a group makes a decision. After the relevant information has been presented, passionate opinions have been shared, and the proposal under discussion has been honed by the collective wisdom of those present, comes the moment when as facilitator, I say, “Are we ready to make a decision?” This is the divide between the talking and the doing, between the conversation and the commitment. The silence is full of possibilities.


Beatrice Briggs
Director, IIFAC

Interested in becoming a group facilitator? Contact us to schedule a free consultation to discuss your professional development needs.

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You can prevent meeting hijacking

Here’s a touchy subject: when is it OK to interrupt a speaker?  Review these guidelines and be assured that sometimes, order arthritis interruption is exactly what’s called for.

When he/she is

  • Exceeding their allotted time
  • Being offensive
  • Speaking off topic
  • Repeating themselves
  • Interrupting others

This is not easy, but failing to act often means that the agenda is hijacked by the dominant, talkative few. Skilled meeting facilitators learn when and how to interrupt. You can too!

Need help keeping your meetings focused? Contact us to schedule a free consultation to discuss your coaching needs.

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One question an outside facilitator should never answer

Groups who are struggling to find a solution to an issue will sometimes turn to the facilitator for advice, allergist medicine asking, pills sickness “What do you think we should do?”

While their confidence in your wisdom may be flattering resist the temptation to share your opinion!  Experienced facilitators know better than to take sides in the debate.

Instead, pill they propose effective strategies, discussion points and creative ways for the group to find a solution for themselves.  You can too!

Need help staying neutral about the issues under discussion when faciiltating a meeting? Contact us to schedule a free consultation to discuss your coaching needs.

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