Research by the National Speakers’ Association shows that becoming facilitative is one of the most important changes a speaker can make to be more effective leaving positive impression. They mean the use of interaction, discussion, and structure for engaging participants’ ideas and reactions.  When you are in the role of a speaker, please consider the following suggestions, listed in the chronology you would expect during a normal presentation:

  1. Take extra time to precisely articulate your presentation’s purpose, scope,and objectives.
    • Do not rely on a vague and dull purpose statement such as to “educate” or “inform”. With instant, on-line access across the world, there are far more effective ways to become informed and learn new material than to attend a live presentation. Presentations are normally intended to shape and guide behavior.  Which behaviors and what decisions that need to be made will be affected or impacted by your material?
    • Stipulate the scope of your presentation to help manage time and keep your audience focused. What should be included and more importantly, NOT included in your presentation and subsequent discussion?
    • Consider your statement of objectives as discrete items that you could package and hand off to somebody. If I was unable to attend your presentation but you could hand me the benefits, what are they?
  2. Remember that the audience for most topics (ie, those more complicated than individual purchases) should consider three different perspectives, each requiring its own scorecard or method of measuring the input received from your presentation.  Typically you will find a solution sponsor, a financial decision-maker (accountable for final approval), and an operator (primary user of the product, system, or solution):
    • Organizational Decision-Making

      The solution sponsor is held responsible for the identification of solutions and getting the results sought by executive sponsors. Sponsors may decide alone or as a steering team.  They frequently approve the solution concept request funding, and make the commitment for results and benefits that will be accrued.  In a hospital setting these may be the directors of finance and radiology.

    • Executive sponsor(s} represent the person or group of individuals who authorize solutions. They really do not want to attend more presentations or view more data, they simply want results. For example, in a hospital setting, the sponsor might be the vice-president of HIS (health information systems).
    • Individuals who will operate the new solution (eg, a new MRI system) and likely have a strong voice in the final brand and model selected.  In a hospital setting this might be radiologists or technicians, responsible for getting patients in and out as quickly as possible while transferring the images and information to the appropriate diagnostician.
  3. During or after your presentation when questions  are asked, be more facilitative by repeating the questions and comments loud enough so that everyone can hear and respond as appropriate.  Consider using an easel to record the voice of your participants so that everyone can reflect on the comments raised by other participants.

As part of the FAST technique, we would also recommend using our Content-Management tool to build consensual understanding about what the presentation means to everyone so that people depart with the a message that generates harmonious actions, the type you would expect from people attending the same meeting rather than people behaving as if they were in different meetings together.

Let us know what you think by commenting below. For additional methodology and team-based meeting support for your change initiatives, refer to “Change or Die, a Business Process Improvement Manual” for much of the support you might need to lead more effective groups, teams, and meetings.

Become Part of the SolutionImprove Your Facilitation and Methodology Skills

The FAST curriculum on Professional Facilitation Skills details the responsibilities and dynamics of an effective facilitator and methodologist. Remember, nobody is smarter than everybody, so consult your FAST Facilitator Reference Manual or attend a FAST professional facilitative leadership-training workshop offered around the world (see MG Rush for a current schedule — an excellent way to earn 40 PDUs from PMI, CDUs from IIBA, or CEUs).

Do not forget to order Change or Die if you’re working on a business process improvement project. It provides detailed workshop agendas and numerous tools to make your role easier and your team’s performance a lot more effective—daring you to embrace the will, wisdom, and activities that amplify a facilitative leader.

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