Are Your Meetings A Waste Of Time?
Do you feel that your last meeting should have been an email? Do you find yourself discussing subjects that are not on the agenda (if you even have an agenda), like what brand of coffee to buy for the office kitchen, or the latest cat video on Youtube?
If your meetings lack focus, then the person running the meeting probably doesn’t know what they’re doing.
Perhaps this is because they never received proper training. Or maybe they just got promoted to ‘manager’, but just because they have the leadership title it doesn’t mean that they know how to run an efficient meeting.
And as you well know, if you don’t have a solid meeting facilitator, then your meetings will be a waste of precious time and money.
So how can you remedy this?
Get A Professional Meeting Facilitator
What does Professional mean?
A Professional Meeting Facilitator has the credentials, experience and confidence to make your meeting a success. The Professional Facilitator is not there to soothe wounded egos, or to solve your problems. He or she is there to ensure that your meeting is profitable, by giving you options to drive your meeting’s agenda forward, and ultimately to help you achieve your organizational objectives.
How Do You Know If You Need A Professional?
Simple. Give your meetings a quick rating out of /10, and then you’ll know.
For example, on a scale of 1-10, what number would you give to your meetings? A rating of 3/10 would mean that your meetings are a waste of time and that you should consider cancelling them (or bringing in a Professional Facilitator).
A rating of 7/10 would mean that your meetings are achieving what you want. And if you rate you meeting a 9/10 then you could probably sub-contract your meeting leader as a Professional Facilitator!
Why Hire A Professional Facilitator?
A Professional Facilitator is an outsider. They are not involved in the office dynamics that created inefficient meetings. They will see things with an unbiased view to help you get your meetings on track.
The pace of business is too fast to allow for unproductive meetings, so hiring a Professional Meeting Facilitator will help you improve more quickly and save time.
A Professional Facilitator knows the importance of client confidentiality, so when you work with them you know that your secrets will not be revealed.
They will bring high energy to your meetings and light up those dull participants who don’t talk much.
A Professional Meeting Facilitator will ensure that every aspect of your meeting is connected directly to your organization strategy, and moving it forward.
What Are the Traits of A Professional Facilitator?
Firm and Enthusiastic
- A Professional Facilitator is firm and fair
- They will supportively say what needs to be said without worrying about bruising the egos in the room
- They will also allow everyone to articulate their point of view no matter how unpopular that view might be
- They will manage personalities. For example, if there is a someone who likes drone on and on, the facilitator will make them keep it short and focused
- They will also encourage the quiet guy in the corner and help him feel comfortable enough to give his 2 cents
Big Picture Seer
The Professional Facilitator will connect all aspects of the meeting to the overall goals of the organization, which will allow you to consistently move your strategy forward.
A Professional Meeting Facilitator will ensure that the meeting starts/ends on time and that people get to the point and use time wisely.
By making a joke at the right time, or helping people to not be to serious, a Professional Facilitator can ensure that the meeting doesn’t end with a fistfight.
What Questions Should You Ask When Hiring A Professional?
- What is your approach?
- Tell me about your favourite facilitation engagement
- How do you separate issues from personalities?
- How will you deal with confidentiality?
- Are you willing to sign a non-disclosure agreement?
- Do you have service insurance?
- Can you provide references?
- Can you submit a proposal for the facilitation?
- Will you provide an engagement contract?
The Steps Involved When You Hire A Professional Facilitator
- Define the scope of the engagement as in:
- What are the objectives to be achieved during the meeting?
- What will the Professional Facilitator be responsible for?
- Agree on the costs and sign the contract
- Help the Professional Meeting Facilitator to thoroughly understand the meeting participants, and allow them to pre-interview meeting participants
- Help the Professional Meeting Facilitator get all necessary background on key issues
- Choosing the meeting location
- On the meeting day
- Check that everything is in place including the furniture, audio and presentation systems.
- Introduce the Professional Facilitator in an exciting way that immediately establishes their credibility
- Establish ‘ground rules’ as in; what happens with cell phones during the meeting; what happens if there is a fight?
How A Professional Facilitator Helps You Win
- They go with the flow and ensure that everyone is heard
- They frequently summarize and capture key discussion points
- They allow for cordial disagreements that are about issues and not about personalities
- They keep the meeting fun and energetic by cracking the odd joke
- At the end of the meeting they present a strong call-to-action and ask every participant to state out loud what he/she is going to do according to the conclusions of the meeting to create accountability
Professional Facilitators often bill by the hour or by the project.
- By the hour you can expect to pay $100/hr and up.
- Per project charges are based on the scope of the project and prices will start around $1500 and go up from there depending on what’s involved
Do You Need To Hire A Professional Meeting Facilitator?
You can assess the need for hiring a Professional Facilitator by looking at the opportunity costs with questions like:
- What will our meetings continue to be like if we do not engage a Professional Facilitator?
- How much better will the meetings be with a Professional Facilitator?
And in the end, hiring a Professional Meeting Facilitator is a long-term investment in your organization’s overall profitability. It will also grow your MROI (Meeting-Return-On-Investment).