4 useful tips on facilitating a meeting for the first time

Facilitating a meeting requires deliberate preparation and understanding. Here are some useful tips.

It’s your first time as a facilitator… what should you do?

Instead of panicking and worrying about how the meeting will go, be proactive; familiarise yourself with your role and objectives.

A Business Woman With a Strained Face Looking at two Other Business Women

A facilitator takes part in the planning, guiding and managing processes of the meeting to ensure that everything is covered efficiently – this may include choosing the right meeting procedure, setting a few ground rules and looking out for the attendees who are not fully participating. A facilitator usually takes a neutral stand on the issues and is primarily focused on helping the team reach a successful conclusion.

Now that you have an overview of your tasks, here are some key points that might just help you to pull off a successful meeting:

Own your role
As defined, facilitators play a huge role in controlling what happens during a meeting – you get to decide who talks, how long they have to discuss a topic or even how it should be approached. Leaving everyone to their own devices can redirect them away from the given agenda — and this is where things can get a little out of control.

It is your sole duty to guide your participants and to keep the meeting at the right pace and on track, from start to finish.

Set the agenda in advance
According to Facilitate.com, effective meetings comprise 50% planning, 20% meeting and 30% follow-up – this a good reason to apply extra effort in the planning stages, particularly in the setting of an agenda.

Ideally, an agenda should be given out to the attendees ahead of time to give them an idea of what the meeting will be about. If it includes multiple topics to discuss, be wise with the time allocations and always stick to the timetable.

Tip: Plan the agenda a week before the meeting. Rank each topic in order of significance, with the most important one being at the beginning; to allot the appropriate time for this discussion.

Make sure everything is prepared
Preparing the essentials is also a big part of the planning stage. From the meeting venue, up to the necessary equipment; you should make sure that you reserve everything you will require beforehand.

If you plan to hold your meeting off-site, &Meetings offers all-inclusive meeting rooms that are conveniently located in the City of London. This guarantees great access to transportation; and flat screen TVs, flip charts and notepads will be included in the room.

Business man Writing onto a Scrap Piece of Paper

Know how to deal with difficult people
There are times that you will encounter disruptive people during meetings – it is your job as the facilitator to deal with them and to make sure that they do not cause any delays or further interruptions.

By setting some ground rules – you may specify that only one participant can speak at a time; if someone disobeys, you can simply reiterate that you have agreed the rule before the meeting started – this will help to keep the meeting purring like a finely tuned engine.

It’s not any easy job but with the proper knowledge and the right amount of preparation, your meeting will be in safe hands!

 

Posted by Sara Cano

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