Getting participants to focus on the same thing at the same time represents one of the hardest thing to accomplish with a group of people. Therefore, learning to remove distractions reflects a core skill and primary responsibility of the meeting leader.
Your Rosetta Stone: Remove Distractions
Remember that all questions you have about what you can or should do may be answered by the question, “Is it a distraction or not?” If it is not a distraction, then it should be acceptable. If it is a distraction, then it is your responsibility to remove distractions so that your group can remain focused on topic.
For example, if you put your hands in pocket to rest for a few minutes, it is probably OK. However, if you start juggling your keys or coins, the distraction is unacceptable. If a participant closes their eyes, let them rest. If they start snoring, then intervene to remove the distraction.
As a facilitator, you need to manage four core skills including presentation, active listening, questioning, and observation/ neutrality. For these to be effective, you must reduce or eliminate distractions so that the group can stay focused.
These four core skills are critical to effective facilitation.
- Presentation skills are necessary for effective communication
- Active listening is a tool for effective understanding
- Questioning is a tool for effective information gathering
- Neutrality is a tool for balance and integrity
Removing distractions is an essential discipline for core skills and may guide all of your behavior.
Note for example the challenges that correspond with the four skills:
- Verbal disfluencies and fillers such as saying “Uhm” too often
- Observing something else when the meeting participant is talking
- Providing answers rather than method
- Making judgements or using the word “I” too often
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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