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You must consider these three questions before you take on the role of session leader for any meeting or workshop.

Prompted by “Three (Incredibly Simple) Questions The Most Successful People Use To Change The World,” Forbes contributor Mike Maddock published an article that could have been cut and paste (figuratively) from the MG RUSH Facilitation Reference manual. Indeed, to lead a successful meeting, these three questions (slightly modified) should be considered for every meeting or workshop, especially when you are the session leader, before meeting begins.

Before the Meeting You Must Know — What is the deliverable?

(Forbes: What’s the outcome I want?)

Three Questions You Need to Answer Before Your Meeting Begins

Three Questions Before Meetings

Start with the end in mind. What does DONE look like? Where are you going? How do you know when you get there? For meetings, our focus is clearly on output (ie, a thing) rather than outcome (ie, a new condition) since we are typically unable to generate new outcomes before the meeting ends. We can however create the input required to catalyze new outcomes, and that is the purpose of the meeting.

#2 You Should Know — What are the problems and challenges I foresee?

(Forbes: What stands in my way?)

Emphasizing the importance of thorough preparation and interviewing your participants in advance, your preparatory time should be stressed when collaboration is required or consensus is absolutely necessary. What people, issues, or components of the culture are going to get in the way of collaboration and consensus? Your answers will yield insight necessary to build optimal agendas and activities for each specific meeting situation.

 You Could Know #3 — Who has already created this type of deliverable?

(Forbes: Who has figured it out already?)

Chances are, you are not the first session leader in the history of mankind to confront your type of deliverable and situational challenges. Find others that have already done it. The manager of one MG RUSH FAST alumnus calls it, “Once stolen, half done.” Focus on others within your own organization through formal networks like a Community of Practice (CoP) or Community of Excellence (CoE) and informal relationships and friendships. Learning from the experience of others will jumpstart your chances of success, so please do not be shy about asking for help.


Don’t ruin your career or reputation with bad meetings. Register for a class or forward this to someone who should. Taught by world-class instructors, MG RUSH  professional facilitation curriculum focuses on practice. Each student thoroughly practices and rehearses tools, methods, and approaches throughout the week. While some call this immersion, we call it the road to building impactful facilitation skills.

Our courses also provide an excellent way to earn up to 40 SEUs from the Scrum Alliance, 40 PDUs from PMI, and 40 CDUs from IIBA, as well as 3.2 CEUs for other professions. (See individual class descriptions for details.)

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Facilitation Expert

Terrence Metz, CSM, PSPO, CSPF, is the Managing Director of MG RUSH Facilitation Training and Coaching, the acknowledged leader in structured facilitation training. His FAST Facilitation Best Practices blog features over 300 articles on facilitation skills and tools aimed at helping others lead faster, more productive meetings and workshops that yield higher quality decisions. His clients include Agilists, Scrum teams, program and project managers, senior officers, and the business analyst community among numerous private and public companies and global corporations. As an undergraduate of Northwestern University (Evanston, IL) and MBA graduate from NWU’s Kellogg School of Management, his professional experience has focused on process improvement and product development. He continually aspires to make it easier for others to succeed.

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