Bob: “Hey Wendy, we have this facilitation training coming up. Do you want to collaborate to put it together?”
Me (Wendy): “Sure. So, how do you want to start?”
Bob: “Well, I think we should do exactly what we will tell people. Facilitation starts WAY before any meetings. So, let’s jot down what we do to prepare for a meeting.”
Me: “Great! I always practice what I’ve preached.”
Bob: “So, I first go through the thinking process that we’ve already taught people: to figure out whether I need a meeting or not (sync / async). If I do need a meeting, here’re the few things that I think of:
- Who do I need in that meeting to achieve the goal and outcome while having enough viewpoints so we don’t miss any angles?
- How do I invite the people I’ve identified?
- What words do I use, and what tone do I take?
- Is there any pre-work for the attendees, and how do I frame that work?
- How do I shape the expectations of the meeting?
- What pieces of communication are needed, on top of the meeting invite with an agenda?”
Me: “I like how you think. We need to emphasize that an agenda isn’t enough, that people have to be more intentional than writing a simple agenda like ‘Sync to talk about blah-blah-blah.””
Bob: “Yes. So, let’s go through the 6 points I mentioned, starting with who I need in the meeting. The people that we need in any meetings (sync/async) include:
- who has specific information or knowledge about that particular topic,
- who is directly impacted by the decision that would be made in the meeting,
- who has the authority to make such decisions.
Anyone else can read or hear about the decision later and not waste their time sitting in the meeting. That way, we ensure that we don’t have extra people, making the meeting bigger than necessary while either wasting their time or having them slow down the discussion or decision-making process.”
Me: “Totally! I always see that people tend to invite everyone they can think of who might miss out. The problem with that thinking is that you’ll invite people who aren’t necessarily vested in the outcome. You’re wasting their time. I sense that people invite too many to cover all their bases – FOMO, if you will. But some people only need to be informed – they don’t necessarily need to be in a meeting, as we’ve said before. Do you know how often I just sat in meetings when I could have read a summary in an email and trusted the others with the decision they needed to make?”
Bob: “Exactly! Hey, I have to run. Let’s continue later today.”
In the meantime, you can see all the articles I’ve written on the subject on meetings.
Read the rest of Wendy’s story here:
- Part 1: Do we have to do video calls? Aren’t there better ways to do things?
- Part 2: What meetings can we get rid of? Aren’t there better ways to do things?
- Part 3: What other meetings can we remove? what else can we cut from our calendars?
- Part 4: Replacing meetings to gain more time on your calendar to be productive
- Part 5: How to recognize different meeting types to increase your productivity?
- Part 6: Evolve your meetings beyond agendas and action items to achieve better outcomes
- Part 7: Facilitate Your Remote Control to Improve Your Meetings and Collaborations
- Part 9: Why meeting agenda is passé, and what you can do to improve them
- Part 10: Invest in the art of meeting invitations to have better meetings
- Part 11: Remote Facilitation Magic: Things to do before a meeting to have better meetings