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Structured Leadership, Facilitation, and Methodology: How to Build Consensus

Meetings capture a huge investment of time. Unproductive meetings affect your cash flow, morale, and potential growth of your biggest asset, your people. As frequent and important as we attend meetings, little (if any) structured training has been provided to help us become better meeting participants, and more importantly, meeting leaders. To build consensus, you and your teams are dependent on improving three areas of behavior, namely:

Three behaviors guaranteed to Improve your ability to build consensus

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  1. WHYLeadership training ensures that we begin with the end in mind.  WHY we are meeting equates with what does DONE look like? The best facilitators in the world will fail miserably if they don’t know where they are going. The worst facilitators can still succeed when the deliverable is clear, and has an impact on the quality of life of the meeting participants.
  2. WHAT — Once it has been made clear where we are going, facilitation skills make it easier to know WHAT to do to make a meeting successful.  Unfortunately, we have developed poor muscle memory over the years. Some behaviors need to be ‘unlearned’ before new behaviors are embraced. The only way to change such behaviors is through practice and immersion. Talking heads (ie, instructors’ lips are moving) won’t do it.  Only active participation and practice will work at instilling effective and facilitative behaviors.
  3. HOW — Even a great facilitator who knows where they are going (ie, What DONE looks like) still needs help. They need to know HOW they are going to build consensus and get a group of people from the meeting Introduction to the Wrap. While the best methodology or approach (ie, Agenda) has more than one right answer, there is one wrong answer — if the meeting leader does not know HOW they are going to do it.

Three Behaviors to Build Consensus

Remember, there are three clear and critical behaviors required to build consensus:  Leadership, Facilitation, and Methodology. Embrace all three when you lead a group of people, and do the following:

  1. Articulate your meeting purpose, scope, and deliverable. Put them in writing. If you can’t effectively describe where you are going, you are not ready to lead. Know what DONE looks like, before your meeting begins.
  2. Be more facilitative and exhibit less “command and control”. Take what you know and put it in the form of a questions. And, STOP using the first person singular, especially the word “I”.  If you already have the answer (as in, “I think . . .” or “I believe”), then don’t host a meeting. Meetings are an awful form of persuasion.
  3. Provide an agenda. Even if you deviate, at least have a planned road map that details how you expect to get us from the Introduction through the Wrap generating the deliverables your participants need to call your meeting successful.

If you start embracing these three behaviors in every meeting you lead, you will be exponentially more successful.  We guarantee it.


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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