Facilitate better meetings

Published August 29, 2018 by Toran Billups

I listened to a great podcast from agile uprising recently about how to facilitate better meetings and wanted to share a few of the key takeaways

  • Have a clear and shared outcome ahead of time
  • Make the agenda and desired outcome known ahead of time so you can prepare the team
  • Narrow the agenda to ensure an outcome is possible in the timeframe (ie: avoid "what is the meaning of life")
  • If people are multi tasking ask them to do what is most important and leave the meeting if necessary (that dysfunctional behavior is actively harmful to the meeting)
  • If people have not had time to prepare ahead of the meeting, and ahead of time prep is truly required for this type of meeting, be honest and ask to reschedule if its obvious the discussion won't benefit the team as a result
  • Coaching 1v1 before the meeting may be required to prevent some category of dysfunctional behavior (ie: helping express the harm of multitasking for example)
  • Avoid solution-ing too early (ie: before all the questions have been asked by the team)
  • If the agenda isn't useful (or followed) derive a sales pitch to help guide/ or direct the conversation
  • If meetings aren't an effective use of the team's time ask "why not" and iterate to improve facilitation
  • Leverage "question based agendas" to drive more effective pre meeting prep

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