Facilitating meetings | A guide to making your meetings effective, inclusive and enjoyable✎
Meetings have the potential to be inspiring! They provide a space where people come together for a common purpose – whether that's making decisions, exploring a shared problem or providing mutual support. Ideally, everyone leaves a meeting feeling heard, understood and positive about the group and any plans or decisions you have made.
However, most of us have experienced meetings that are less than ideal! They drag on and on, with tempers running high, people talking over each other and no decisions being made... Or maybe one person dominates the meeting, leaving everyone else to wonder why they even turned up...
Facilitation is about taking responsibility for making meetings as easy and effective as possible. This guide explores the concept of facilitation and how it can help in creating positive and successful meetings.
We have particularly focused on facilitation of consensus decision making. Consensus a process that involves everyone who is fundamentally affected by a decision. The aim is to reach an agreement they can all support. However, the facilitation tips in this guide apply to any meeting that you want to be inclusive and effective.
What is facilitation?
- Core facilitation tasks
- Facilitating or chairing?
- Learning to facilitate?
- Helpful skills and qualities
- Making the meeting work for different people
- Different roles to help meetings work
The meeting agenda
- How to create an agenda
- Sample meeting agenda
Facilitating a meeting: beginning to end
- Preparing the meeting
- Preparing yourself
- Getting the meeting off to a good start
- During the meeting
- Ending the meeting
Key facilitation skills
- Active listening
Large group meetings
- Preparing meetings for larger groups
- Large plenaries and working in small groups
- Meetings going on too long
- Time pressure
- Lack of focus
- Different levels of power and participation
- The group can't reach agreement
- How can we get from lots of ideas to one proposal?
- Case study 1
- Case study 2