Tips & tricks for effective meeting facilitation

As a long-standing resource for credit union planning session facilitation, we are often asked our advice on improving meeting facilitation. While facilitation is often more art than science, there are considerations that help lead to engaged meeting participants and a better meeting outcome. We’ve shared them in this post. Feel free to use them to your advantage … but if you need help, don’t hesitate to call!

Prepare Ahead For The End Result

In preparing to facilitate a meeting, the first thing to consider is what you hope to “accomplish” at the meeting itself. If you are facilitating a planning meeting, agreement on a plan is an obvious objective, but make sure you understand the context for plan discussion and decision-making. Context can be provided by an established mission or vision, core values, or target market, among other items. If you don’t understand context, then the planning discussion you facilitate stands a bigger chance of resulting in irrelevant or even destructive plans. So first, seek the institution’s contextual boundaries for planning discussion … and know that if there aren’t any, then your first order of business in planning will be to establish a context.

The next order of business in preparing for meeting facilitation is to visualize anticipated meeting activity and engagement. Visualization will help you better understand your facilitation role. Here are few visualizations we often use to ensure we drive proper engagement:

  • Participants actively and intently listening as strategic options are described.
  • Participants sitting back in awe, amazement, excitement, trepidation, and uncertainty as a picture of the future sinks in.
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