Meeting Facilitation Is More Effective If Leaders Have Been Properly Trained

Organizations are run differently, depending on how big the organization is, how long it has been around, and in which industry it operates. One of the few things these organizations do is hold meetings. A meeting might be called to share information with everyone at once or to brainstorm a new strategic direction. However, if the meeting is not run effectively then the company will have to call another meeting and get stuck in a continuous cycle of holding meetings until objectives are met. Many organizations commit to making sure a meeting is held correctly the first time by bringing in a meeting facilitation expert from outside the organization. Other companies prefer to save money by appointing someone from within the organization to lead the meeting. If that individual has never completed a facilitation training course or been properly trained in the art of leading meetings, then the only thing that a meeting will do is waste everyone’s time.

Designating an individual within the organization to be in charge of meeting facilitation will make it easier for the organization to achieve the objectives it lays out for that specific gathering. A facilitator is someone who leads a discussion by conducting research and developing a plan leading up to the meeting. This individual will interview staff members to determine what they want the meeting to accomplish, and might even write questions that can be asked to spur discussion among participants. A facilitation training course will help the individual with this research phase by suggesting ways to conduct research and obtain necessary information from organizational leaders. During this time, organizational leaders should also mention specific topics that need to be addressed or ideas that need to be debated and put to a vote. Once the facilitator has completed all preliminary research, he or she will create an agenda that he or she can refer to during the discussion.

When the meeting starts, the meeting facilitation professional will oversee the conversation to ensure that everyone is given a chance to speak. This is accomplished by making sure that each individual is treated equally, and that no ideas are dismissed without a discussion among the group. The discussion leader can also rely on techniques learned from a facilitation training course in order to bring shy participants out of their shells or to break the ice if the group seems reluctant to engage in a discussion. A facilitation training course will also teach the individual how to lead games and exercises designed to help everyone loosen up or start thinking creatively. The professional will even ensure that the meeting is productive by not dismissing everyone until a consensus has been reached. He or she will also give others the chance to ask questions, so that department heads or individual employees understand what they need to do in order to guarantee that the organization meets its goals.

Sending an individual to a facilitation training course is the best way to ensure that he or she is capable of effectively completing meeting facilitation.

Strategy Facilitator: Align Organizational Thinking

Organizations hold meetings for a number of different reasons. Whether the organization is looking to tackle a major problem or wishes to focus on new objectives, meetings are a great way to get everyone within the organization on the same page. Yet businesses might find that if the meeting is not lead effectively, it will be inefficient and ultimately ineffective. While companies might be tempted to put an organizational leader in charge of a gathering, it is better if they hire a facilitation expert. Depending on the company’s need, experts can be found that specialize in a number of areas, like a teambuilding facilitator or a strategy facilitator.

What do these experts offer?

Facilitation experts provide support before and during the meeting.

How do they prepare before meetings?

Prior to the meeting, these professionals will research the company and the problems it hopes to address by interviewing the organization’s leaders. When a teambuilding facilitator is brought in, he or she might sit down with members of the group individually to try to learn if personality conflicts or biases are holding back productivity. Similarly, a strategy facilitator could meet with organizational leaders to understand the current strategy and how it aligns with the company’s goals. Using the information collected from interviews and independent research, the professional will prepare a comprehensive report that participants will receive before the day of the discussion. With this information, everyone will be on the same page and the facilitator will not have to worry about working with a group in which nobody can see the big picture.

What is their role during the meetings?

These professionals are primarily in charge of leading the discussion. The big reason that internal employees should not handle this task is because they might bring their own biases into the room. Internal employees might allow certain individuals to dominate the conversation and might even put down or reject certain ideas before others have had a chance to respond to them. Consequently, potential solutions are never considered and individuals will even become reluctant to speak up. The facilitator will use a previously prepared agenda to make sure that certain topics or questions are covered, and will direct the discussion back on-topic if the group goes off on a tangent.

The above-mentioned are general duties covered as some facilitators will handle specific tasks, depending on the type of meeting. A strategy facilitator will have to make sure that a consensus is reached when the team thinks that it has determined a strategic direction to follow. He or she must also ensure that all team members understand their role in helping the organization reach its goals. A teambuilding facilitator will teach and lead exercises or games that companies can use to develop teambuilding skills. This individual might also have to settle personality conflicts, usually by addressing the problem rather than the personalities.

To find a strategy facilitator or teambuilding facilitator that will help the company reach its goals, organizational leaders should consult an online database to find individuals with the right mix of training and experience from similar companies.

Two Quick Ways to Kick-Start Your Personal Productivity

You’re not alone if you think you should be getting a lot more done in a day, considering all the time you put in. Continuous low productivity degrades your morale and builds stress. Besides running the risk of losing your job, you compromise your immune system and increase the probability of stress-related health problems. You also escalate the chances of making mistakes or having a work related accident.

You may not know that the way your brain is wired to work, think, learn and communicate has an impact on your personal productivity. Practical neuroscience provides the understanding and actionable tools to improve your current situation.

Practical Neuroscience Principles of Personal Productivity

You engage with what you’re most attracted to. This includes subject matter and the value received from engaging with the subject. When you don’t like certain tasks at work, there’s a natural resistance and push-back, making it difficult to engage with them. This is the genesis of productivity problems.

You always get more done in less time, with fewer mistakes, when you’re interested in the subject and your brain wiring is aligned with the activity. Conversely, you avoid things that don’t interest you or tasks with requirements misaligned with your brain strengths. Resistance to doing what you naturally don’t want to do decreases engagement and productivity. This builds stress, anxiety and guilt. It can lead to loss of health, peace-of-mind and your job.

Two Quick Ways to Kick-Start Your Personal Productivity

1. Establish value or give yourself a reward

If you’re in a job you intensely dislike, what are its most positive aspects? Examples may be a paycheck, medical coverage and two weeks paid vacation. Concentrate on your most positive thoughts during the workday to help you focus and engage with work activities; then, when you get home, start imagining and working toward a new and better job.

Establish rewards for accomplishing one to two hour “chunks” of work, having identified recognizable progress milestones. Rewards may be short breaks to take a walk, enjoy a snack, look at a travel magazine, write in your journal or look at family photos. Your “mini-rewards” should always involve getting away from your direct workspace, even if it’s for 10 minutes or less. On a macro basis, look forward to the end of each day and imagine doing something nice for yourself and your loved ones. You will be happier and find yourself getting more done.

2. Create the optimum physical environment for the activity

Your brain performs best when the physical environment is aligned with the sensory and cognitive components of the task. For hands-on (Kinesthetic) activities, provide for physical comfort and freedom of movement. Be sure to have all your tools and equipment within easy reach. Visual tasks are best completed in organized and attractive environments, where your eyes can focus on your work. Attentive listening (Auditory) requires a quiet and interruption free environment. Sequential tasks, calling for accuracy and focus, are best accomplished in bright light and cooler temperature. Global work, involving imagination and creative problem solving, requires dim light, warmer temperatures and comfortable furniture.

Keep a positive mental attitude, remember to breathe deeply and drink water throughout the day to oxygenate. Take frequent breaks to refresh and reenergize. These simple methods alone will raise your personal productivity and improve the quality of your work life.

In summary, you have more control over your personal productivity and the quality of your work life than you may imagine. No matter how bad your current work situation is, you can take immediate steps to improve it. Practical neuroscience and knowing how your brain is wired are your pathways to a better and more prosperous life with less stress.