You might not like meetings. Your experience so far might be that most meetings are a waste of time, money, energy and efforts that could be spent on something else. Yet, you can’t avoid it. Not only do others make you join one but time and time again, you also have a strong need to call a meeting… to resolve a conflict, to improve your teamwork, to resolve your business issues, to make a life-and-death decision in your business, develop the best possible ideas for your product. The list goes on and on.
Meetings are necessary part of life, and business.
From my experience as a facilitator, the following 18 qualities are crucial to not only get your meeting unstuck, engaging and avoid chaos but also stimulate deep understanding and discussions, fresh and creative thinking and get the best out of your meeting.
These qualities are necessary particularly to effectively lead complex and difficult meetings like conflict resolution meetings, decision making meetings, team building meetings, corporate retreats and any meetings that require deep and creative thinking.
01. Be able to delay judgment
Being judgmental does not only get you biased as you lead the meeting. It will get you to hear only what you want to hear and who you want to hear from.
Well, every one of us is judgmental. A good meeting facilitator can judge something or someone quickly too but they have the ability to delay their judgment until they get enough information necessary to get the best the meeting.
02. Think fast
In difficult and complex meetings , a single statement, a single act of behavior… with a blink of an eye could put the situation on fire. The ability to think fast allows you to lead from and toward the emerging future possibilities.
Think fast but act considerately.
03: Be courageous to stand, and sit, in the fire
This is very important if you are to facilitate a fiery meeting. You must recognize your own hot button and that of others in the meeting and be able to control them.
To find out more about why this matters, read the books, Stand on the Fire: Leading High Heat Meeting with Clarity, Calm and Courage; and Sitting in the Fire: Large Group Transformation Using Conflict and Diversity.
04. Communicate effectively
Not just a good communicator ourselves but we also must also be able to help others communicate effectively too. Communication requires several other skills such as listening, questioning and presenting but you’ll need several other articles to cover these. 🙂
05. Be able to “presence the emerging future possibility”
Ok, that’s the language of Theory U a change management method used by many facilitators worldwide. The ability to presence the emerging future possibility helps you, as a meeting facilitator, break through past unproductive patterns of behavior that prevent you from empathizing with your clients’ perspectives and often lock you into ineffective patterns of decision making.
06. Have negotiation skills
Important meetings often involve consensus building. That’s where negotiation skills come into play… from clarifying the goals to getting to an agreement, to the action implementation.
07. Be able to lead others
If you can’t lead others, you can’t run a meeting. If you are to run a good meeting, put on the show, be confident, inspire others and move them to actions.
08. Observe and manage the energy in the room
How’s everyone doing? Are they being engaged? That person there wants to say something but is shy to talk? Is the room temperature too cold? Are people feeling tired already? What’s the energy like among them? Is it a one whole ball of energy or scattered with differences and emotions?
So, what should you do to get the right energy for the meeting? To effectively run a meeting, you must be able to observe and manage the energy in the room. You must learn to see, feel and understand facts and feelings happening in or outside the room that could have implications on the meeting you’re running.
09. Be creative and innovative
You can’t solve the problem by the same level of thinking that created it. If talking doesn’t work, you might want to try writing, drawing or acting that require different senses. In facilitation, there are several processes we can use to help groups to tap into their creative and innovative part of their brain.
10. Ask powerful questions
This is very important. The right solution is not in the right answer; the right solution is in the right question. As a facilitator, I make it my top priority to get the right question, right, for the meeting I facilitate.
These 10 qualities help you engage people in your meeting and get the best out it. They also help you grow as a person and leader. They require a lifelong learning journey to master them. A small step of the journey can start now with my meeting facilitation services I have to offer and let you experience all the creative processes that I use to facilitate a meeting.