How to lead a successful meeting: ask for help to increase its impact

Bob: “By the way, Wendy, we shouldn’t forget our guidance about where people are attending from.”

Me (Wendy): “What do you mean?”

Bob: “We should let people know they should get extra facilitators to help them out for fully remote or hybrid meetings. In the case of fully remote, the facilitator may not have enough bandwidth to help folks out with their technical issues or deal with things like breakout rooms or share screen while running the meeting. Having a co-facilitator would help spread some of the load so the facilitator can concentrate on making an engaging meeting impactful.”

Me: “Oh yea – almost forgot about that one. Let’s mention we recommend a minimum of two facilitators, one to facilitate the meeting and the other to be the technical facilitator to handle all the technical issues. Hybrid gets even more complicated. We recommend a total of 3 facilitators: one to facilitate the meeting and two technical facilitators. One will take care of technical stuff for the remote participants, and the other will take care of technical issues at the physical space where the meeting is being held. This way, each technical facilitator can handle issues while the facilitator is running the actual meeting.”

Bob: “Yes. I also want to point out that the technical facilitators are still facilitators, they are not IT support. So, when the facilitator sits down and designs a meeting, the technical facilitators are there from the beginning, designing the meeting together.”

Me: “Good point. We must also mention that all of them should have a common script that lists out what each person will do during the meeting. And they need to practice beforehand. Practicing the script allows the facilitators to become familiar with what ideally is supposed to happen. If something goes wrong, they’ll know what to do to continue facilitating while addressing the issue at hand.”

Bob: “OMG! Yes, their goal is to make things look seamless to the attendees even if things in the background may not be going as planned. I remember how you and I rehearsed 2 or 3 times just to get more comfortable with more involved meetings.”

Me: “‘That’s right! So, Bob, with this upcoming facilitation training that we are giving, will this be completely remote or hybrid? I assume you and I are both facilitators. We can decide later which one of us will do the technical part. If the training is hybrid, we’ll need to enlist another facilitator.”

Bob: “I think we – I mean you, Wendy – should tell our boss Peter about all this first and see if he has a preference

Me: “ARGH! Why am I always the one who tells Peter things?! 

Bob: “I’m glad you agreed! Go along now and talk to Peter so we can schedule this training!”

Me: “Fine! I need to get back to him regarding psychological safety anyway. Stay tuned. We should be able to schedule this training soon.”

Read Wendy’s entire story here

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