Virtual Meetings

How to Facilitate Virtual Meetings and Participants (Part 1 of 3)

Core facilitation skills apply to both face-to-face and virtual meetings,  With teleconference or videopresence meetings, the session leader must speak clearly, provide active listening (especially feedback and confirmation), ask appropriate questions, manage time constraints and personality issues, etc.  Our discussion that follows below and in the next two blogs will focus on what is different…

Clear Communications

Rhetorical Precision and Clear Communications — Stress Substance Over Style

Word choice is most often used to solve for expressing intent. Yet, many of our languages are dynamic. Between 1590 and 1610 alone, 6,000 new words were added every year to the English language. Clear communication can almost be viewed as an oxymoron. Clear communications ???  “Enron’s document-management policy simply meant shredding. France’s proposed solidarity…


SMART Versus DUMB Criteria

The intent here is to illustrate the difference between clear, or SMART (Specific, Measurable, Adjustable, Relevant, and Time-based) definitions and criteria contrasted with unclear or DUMB (ie, Dull, Ubiquitous, Myopic, and Broad) definitions and criteria. An Unclear Business Definition (Example of DUMB Customer ID) “The ID of the customer” A Clear Business Definition (Example of SMART Customer…

Requirements Gathering

How to Facilitate Requirements Gathering (Primer)

When projects are accused of poor requirements gathering, the accusation is normally false.  The requirements gathered end up solid, but project gets exposed to additional costs because of the requirements that get lost. To facilitate any type of descriptive or prescriptive build-out of a process or series of activities, and to prevent omissions, use a structured approach…

How to Actively Listen Relies on Reflection

The Four Steps to Actively Listen – Strive to Reflect Rationale

Actively listen and capture one of the most important aspects of effective facilitation. As an active listener, you feedback (emphasize, restate) what the speaker has offered to the group, and more importantly, why.  Be sure to reflect on the rationale, the ‘because’ behind the speaker’s main point.  To actively listen serves several purposes: Often, the participant is formulating thoughts…

Role of Session Leader

Both Facilitator and Methodologist: Role of Session Leader

The Role of Session Leader You have a multitude of tasks to perform during the workshop.  The success of the facilitator’s effort is dependent upon your skill, knowledge, and abilities as a session leader.  The role of session leader includes both the traditional role of “Facilitator” discussed below and the role of “Methodologist” discussed on…

Meeting Problem Causes

How to Get Promising Meetings to Fail: Four Meeting Failure Causes

Sometimes meetings that look promising before they begin, fail unexpectedly.  Four primary meeting failure causes deserve your attention.  These four meeting failure causes sneak up on groups, ill-prepared to anticipate or mitigate them.  Participants need your awareness about these causes as their meeting leader and facilitator. First of Four Meeting Failure Causes: The Problem with Solving…

Increasing Meeting Contributions from Quiet People

Five Ways to Facilitate Quiet People to Get Them to Participate

Pardon the expression, but they say that a leopard cannot change his or her spots. You are not going to convert quiet people into aggressive extroverts who dominate a meeting. However, there are simple steps that you can take to increase the velocity of contributions from quiet people. Interview Your Participants, Especially Quiet People It is so important,…


How to Converge Your Brainstorming Input— Key Measures (continued)

Brainstorming‘s third activity, frequently called ‘convergence’, may take the form of decision criteria. Criteria or key measures can take different forms, as shown below. Purpose of Key Measures Here we define how an organization will measure its progress as it reaches toward its future vision. Defined—key, measures, objectives, goals, and considerations: A key is something…