5 Proven Techniques for Facilitating Efficient and Productive Meetings

The communication methods for meetings can be categorized into two types: face-to-face offline communication and online network communication.

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Offline Meeting Facilitation Techniques

  1. Familiarity with the Agenda: The meeting facilitator must be well-versed in the topics and agenda of the meeting.
  2. Guiding According to the Meeting Flow: Follow the established meeting flow to guide the participants actively.
  3. Adaptability: Be flexible and capable of handling various changes that may arise during the meeting.
  4. Strong Presence: Develop a strong presence that influences participants positively. Enhance professional competence to increase influence.
  5. Summarization Skills: After participant input, the facilitator should summarize core points and seek confirmation.
  6. Neutrality and Objectivity: Facilitators should remain neutral and objective during discussions, avoiding any form of bias.
  1. Create a Sense of Ceremony (Greeting): Establish a sense of unity to help participants transition smoothly into the meeting. For example, instead of immediately starting the meeting, greet participants with a simple “Good morning” or “Good afternoon.”
  2. Introduce the Meeting Theme: Explain the main topic of the meeting.
  3. State the Meeting’s Specific Purpose: Define the specific objectives of the meeting to keep participants focused.
  4. Present the Meeting Agenda: Reiterate the meeting’s agenda to reinforce what will be covered.
  5. Introduce Meeting Roles: Identify the roles within the meeting, such as the facilitator, note-taker, and timekeeper.

1.”Today’s meeting theme and purpose are…”

  • Set the direction at the beginning of the meeting.

2.”What do you think?”

  • Encourage open-ended questions to gather opinions and suggestions.

3.”So, you mean…”

  • Clarify discussion points to ensure everyone understands.

4.”Next, we will hear from [Name].”

  • Transition to the next speaker to continue the discussion.

5.”So, our final resolution is…”

  • Summarize and confirm the decisions made during the meeting.

6.”The resolutions we have reached are [list them].”

  • Review the meeting’s decisions for clarity.

7.”Who will do what and when?”

  • Assign responsibilities and deadlines for action items.

8.”Does anyone have any objections?”

  • Give participants the opportunity to express concerns or dissent.

  1. Listening Skills:
  • Maintain an attentive posture to show focus and engagement.
  • Nod or make affirmative sounds to encourage speakers.
  • Temporarily set aside personal thoughts, expectations, and desires.
  1. Feedback Skills:
  • Use the “Hamburger” method, which includes affirmation, suggestion, and reaffirmation.
  • For example, “Regarding [Name]’s suggestion, I find it innovative and feasible. If we could validate the feasibility of the third point, it would be even more perfect.”
  1. Communication Skills:
  • Avoid preconceived notions and judgments to prevent misjudgments.
  • Treat all participants equally.
  • Support points with evidence.
  • Use the facilitator’s privilege when necessary, such as setting deadlines for unresolved issues.

1.Deviation from the Agenda and Habitual Tangents:

  • Use skillful interruptions to bring discussions back on track.
  • Employ the FAST rule: Face the speaker, Affirm their point, Suggest a better time for the discussion, and Thank them for their input.

2.No Response After Asking a Question:

  • Directly invite participants to answer the question.
  • Make eye contact to identify those who may have an answer.

3.Overly Prolonged Contributions:

  • Set time rules at the beginning of the meeting.
  • Use skillful interruptions to redirect the discussion.
  • Compliment contributors and ask for input from others.

4.Side Conversations:

  • Address reasons for side meetings: dissent, lack of understanding, feeling excluded, or lack of interest.
  • Use questions to draw out those who have not spoken.
  • Pause and request contributions from all participants.

5.Disagreements and Heated Arguments:

  • Evaluate the relevance and urgency of the disagreement.
  • Limit speaking time, allowing for final statements.
  • Solicit input from participants who have not yet spoken.
  • Utilize the facilitator’s authority or conduct a vote to reach a decision.

  1. Aim to conclude the meeting ahead of the scheduled time if possible.
  2. Summarize and announce meeting resolutions and the next steps.
  3. Confirm with participants if there are any objections.
  4. Officially declare the meeting as adjourned.

Online Meeting Facilitation Techniques

  1. The host should request participants to minimize the use of the mute function. While it may not be possible to ensure this every time, participants should try to find a quiet location for the meeting.
  2. Connect to the conference call in advance to ensure there are no technical issues.
  3. Consider the limitations of online meetings when planning the agenda. Without visual cues, it can be challenging to have effective discussions.
  1. Take attendance and note who is present. Make sure everyone becomes familiar with the voices of all participants, promoting a sense of punctuality.
  2. Require participants to introduce themselves before speaking (e.g., “I am John, and I believe…”).
  3. Maintain control of the meeting, ensuring discussions stay on topic and occasionally calling on different individuals to speak at appropriate times.
  4. Use participants’ names as much as possible during discussions to actively involve remote attendees (e.g., “John, please share your thoughts”).
  5. Encourage remote participants to actively engage in the overall meeting discussion, especially if some participants are remote and others are physically present.
  6. When conducting a video conference, make effective use of relevant features to enhance the meeting, such as screen sharing, content presentation, and real-time collaborative editing.
  1. Periodically ask participants for feedback on how to improve the meeting’s effectiveness (e.g., what items could be removed, added, or maintained).
  2. Find opportunities for participants to meet in person to build trust and strengthen connections.

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