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Friday, October 16, 2009

Project Managers and Meeting Facilitation

I really do not like attending most meetings.  I find my time would be better spent doing other things. One of the reasons I dislike most meetings is they are poorly facilitated.

A facilitator is: one who brings organization and process to the meeting so attendees are able to interact effectively and make sound business decisions. They enable good meeting habits and support the group to achieve exceptional outcomes.

A facilitator provides leadership without taking control. They get others to assume responsibility and help them to participate and lead effectively.

Facilitators should:

Assist the group to identify goals and objectives around the meeting topic

Help identify attendee needs

Guide discussions to keep them focused on the agenda

Ensure assumptions are brought out and discussed

Guide the group to consensus on issues by ensuring all attendees are heard

Use tools and processes to ensure the meeting is run efficiently and good decisions are made (action items, meeting minutes, parking lot, etc.)

Lead brainstorming sessions

Help attendees to assess their skills and assist them in building new skills to support the meeting's objectives

A good facilitator can bring clarity and focus to a meeting. There are many resources on the internet, and there are many good books on the subject of meeting facilitation. Effective meetings help to build effective outcomes. Ineffective meetings can be seen as time-wasters and can alienate some of the people you need the most. If you waste people's time they probably won't attend any of your meetings in the future.

1 comment:

joe blake said...

Stephen,
Agreed. Project Managers must be effective meeting facilitators to be successful in managing the project for the stakeholders. I would also add that a Project Manager must be ready to cancel a meeting if key stakeholders are not present or prepared. This shows that the PM values all attendees time and garners respect across the team. I would also add that if there is no decisions or action items to be made there is no meeting. Meeting to talk about stuff should be reserved for the executives. Thanks for the great topic.