Why I Create Awesome Meetings is rather simple, I enjoy helping people, businesses, and organizations of any kind better their futures.
My name is Gord Sheppard and I love meetings.
I say that honestly because I work as a Professional Meeting Facilitator and Consultant, and every time I run a meeting it goes well.
- I remind every person about the actual hourly cost of the meeting, so that they make every second count
- I help every person connect what they are doing in the meeting directly to their strategy
- I ask every person in the meeting to take action when they leave the room
- I help people to laugh and enjoy themselves, at the same time as helping them to improve their organizations
Over the years, I have been part of numerous planning sessions, but I have to say that Gord’s ability to get straight to the point and see through all of the cloudiness is inspirational. He has an uncanny gift of being able to read individuals and situations, while bringing out their best in a very short amount of time. He helped us to produce great results that are truly actionable.
Cynthia Annett, Chair – Special Olympics Alberta-Edmonton
I have a knack for being able to respectfully engage and inspire people during a meeting. I have developed this knack because:
- I have facilitated, run and participated in more than 2000 meetings
- I have more than 25 years of business experience
- I combine a left brain/right brain approach that comes from having a degree in Drama combined with a Masters Degree in Business Administration (MBA)
- I have figured out the amount of patience it takes to be a great Dad, and I apply that to every meeting that I facilitate
- I don’t put up with any ego from senior leaders, because I believe that we are out of time in business and too much ego can slow an organization down from achieving its objectives
A Case Study
Here’s an example of why I love facilitating meetings.
I recently facilitated a five-hour meeting with a large non-profit organization. About an hour into the meeting I realized that we hadn’t taken a break yet. So I asked the group of 15 people if they wanted to stop and they all said ‘no’. Why? Because the meeting was going so well and we were getting so much done. So how was I able to motive them during this long day? Let me take a moment to explain.
In the months leading up to this important meeting I met with the Executive Director three times. During these pre-meetings we clarified his goals for the meeting. We also talked about who would be in the room. We discussed their strengths and weaknesses, as well as some ways to help them optimize their contributions during the meeting. We also talked about what the Executive Director wanted to strategically achieve. And with all of this information I began to plan the meeting.
I also pre-interviewed four other people who would be attending the meeting. This allowed me to get to know them better and learn about their passions and concerns. I was also able to introduce myself and tell them about what they could expect on the day of the meeting. I also told them that everything that we would be talking about at the meeting would be based on issues and not on people. This critical pre-meeting step helped all of us to begin to build trust, which then allowed us to get more done on the meeting day.
Then I planned out the actual meeting agenda and went over all the details with the Executive Director before the actual meeting day. This included lining up what we would be discussing as well as leaving some breathing room to deal with any unexpected issues.
On the meeting day I arrived an hour early and set up the meeting room. I also greeted each meeting participant as they arrived. Part of the greeting included asking them to write their preferred communication style on a piece of paper that was hung on the wall for everyone to see. This information was later captured and it influenced their overall internal communication strategy.
To kick off the meeting I led a self introduction session during which each person told the group something about themselves that nobody could possibly know. Not only did this break the ice and make us all laugh while we learned about each other, it also brought out important stories that were directly related to the theme of the meeting.
While there were many other great moments throughout the rest of the meeting, I want to tell you about what I did at the end. During the last 1/2 hour I looked each person in the eye and asked them;
“Given what we have talked about today, what are you going to do when you leave this meeting?”
Then I made sure that each each person gave a specific answer with a due date for completing the task. This is a powerful technique that creates accountability and action, and I hope that you can apply this approach in your next meeting.
A week after the meeting I followed up with the Executive Director to do a de-brief. He was very happy with the result and said that we accomplished so much that he needed even more time to sort out all of the possible options moving forward.
Changing The World, One Meeting At A Time
So why did I start Create Awesome Meetings?
Because when I worked for large corporations many of the meetings that I attended were ineffective. So now I want to help executives and middle managers learn how to conduct highly productive meetings that will make their organizations more profitable.
Because many non-profit boards are losing effective volunteers because the volunteers feel that their time is being wasted in poorly run meetings. So now I want to help as non-profit leaders and volunteers learn how to run inspiring meetings that retain their best volunteers, which will ultimately improve their service delivery to their clients.
Because I am changing the world, one meeting at time.