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Thursday, August 04, 2005

Project Managers and Meeting Facilitation

I really do not like meetings. For the most part, I find my time would be better spent doing other things. As project managers, we will be involved in meetings. When we call a meeting we need to ensure that the meeting has an agenda and that meeting minutes are taken.

I find that one of the things that is usually missing from larger meetings is a good facilitator. As a project manager that has called a meeting it is usually best if you have a person (other than yourself) designated as a meeting facilitator.

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
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. 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.

Make sure your meetings are efficient and effective. One way to do this is to survey meeting attendees to gather feedback.

Until next time…

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