A meeting facilitator ensures that committee or other meetings go well. There are several faces to meeting facilitation – what happens before the meeting, what happens during the meeting and what happens after the meeting. Let’s look at each in a little detail.
Before the meeting, a detailed agenda must be developed and distributed along with a calendar invite that the meeting participants can include in their calendars. Without these items, it is like having a party and forgetting to send out the invitations and hoping that people show up. It is helpful to use Robert’s Rules of Order for the main parts of an agenda. Understand that each meeting is different and does not need to follow Robert’s Rules to the letter. A well defined agenda should have, as a minimum, Introductions (roll call), adoption of the agenda (ensures everyone will follow the agenda), approval/acceptance of the meeting notes or minutes from the previous meeting, action items or discussion items, wrap-up and next steps and closing of the meeting. If there are documents to be discussed, make sure that you clearly identify the documents and provide links to where they may be found. If the meeting is an in-person meeting, the agenda should be distributed at least 4-weeks prior to the meeting to allow the meeting attendees time to make travel arrangements. If the meeting is virtual, you can send the meeting agenda out about 2-weeks prior to the meeting.
During the meeting, as the meeting facilitator, you should be available to take notes. The notes should focus on the agreements reached during the discussions. Always be available to the meeting convener to help them if they need documents or other things for the meeting. Help the meeting convener to ensure that all meeting attendees have an equal opportunity to speak and be heard.
After the meeting, it is important to provide a record of the meeting to all meeting participants to ensure that any task assigned will be completed before the next meeting. The meeting notes/minutes should be distributed within a week of the meeting and not more than two weeks after the meeting ends. The meeting facilitator should also send reminders to those in the meeting who have volunteered to do a task. This may be done either via email reminders or a list of action items that were the result of the meeting or both. It is also good for the meeting facilitator to meet with the meeting convener to critique the meeting and identify where improvement may take place.
Meetings while tedious can also be fun. Make sure all meeting attendees are heard and are content with the outcomes. If you do this, you will be a terrific meeting facilitator. If you want to know more about meeting facilitation or would like to find a facilitator to help you with your meetings, give me a call for a free consultation. We have been facilitating successful meetings for the last twenty years and would like to work with you and your company. Call today.