Facilitating Effective Meetings
At ACET, we facilitate many meetings, and we work to create successful meetings that move meeting goals forward and keep everyone engaged. Here are three key things we’ve learned about facilitating meetings well:
1. Develop discussion points ahead of time. Set expectations, and create a one-page outline where key topics come first (in case you run out of time and can’t get to every item). Distribute the outline with attendees in advance so they can provide input and add any additional feedback.
2. Set the tone. Establish the tone from the beginning since first impressions come early. Set up the room. Have water. Greet people as they arrive. Have copies of the agenda to give to individuals. Start with introductions to help people feel at ease so they’re more likely to share.
3. Facilitate well. Pause between agenda topics and during key times so that you invite people to share their thoughts and ideas. See yourself as a facilitator, not a presenter to foster an environment of discussion.
A helpful report, Characteristics of High-Performing Team Meetings, points out that an effective meeting is only one third of the process. How well you prepare for the meeting, conduct the meeting, and then follow through after the meeting are also key elements to success.
If you get a chance, please also check out the report from First Nations Development Institute that says to “identify realistic goals and objectives” for each meeting, which “is necessary to maintain a sense of accomplishment.” Many companies hire a consultant to help with setting realistic meeting goals.
If you’re interested in having ACET facilitate a meeting or help you build capacity so you can facilitate effective meetings, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We offer a free initial consultation!
 Bacon, B. (2014). Characteristics of High-Performing Team Meetings. Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford Leadership. 3.
 First Nations Development Institute. (2009). Native Asset-Building Coalitions: Promising Practices and Sustainability. Longmont, CO: First Nations Development Institute. 20.