Avoid Information Overload

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To help make meetings more efficient and effective, try not to present too much information all at once. If the meeting is about a complex subject, it’s best to have a series of shorter meetings and break the subject into “bite sized” topics for discussion.

Avoid Information Overload

At the outset, it is recommended to offer up the entire overview and context of the subject and then break it up into parts for discussion. The idea is to keep meetings as short and succinct as possible. Details can be added later.

As the facilitator, you are there to guide the conversation not dominate it. Keep the discussion on point but entertain side issues if it adds to the goal of the meeting.

As the facilitator, you should develop a sense of urgency but do not cut people off. Seek out non contributors and ask for their input.

Never chastise a team member in public. If you have a problem with a participant, send them a helpful evaluation email after the meeting to help them become more effective in the group setting. Explain the cost of meetings and the need for participation.

Setting the ground rules

Once the overview has been presented and before launching into the discussion, it’s time to introduce the “rules of engagement.”  All participants are asked to:

  • Be succinct in your answers
  • If you have nothing to contribute when asked, just say “pass.”
  • Do not openly criticize the contributions-or non-contributions of others.
  • Be open to new ideas and it’s ok to adopt the ideas of others if you can add something new to the idea.
  • Do not have fear of ridicule or rejection of your ideas. What is needed most is your uncensored participation.
  • You may be graded on your level of participation. (If the facilitator feels there is a lack of enthusiasm in the participants).
  • The objective is to reach some sort of consensus on ideas for further study.
  • Listen and learn from others. If you have questions, hold them until the appropriate time or follow up after the meeting.

Always make sure to record the sessions as well as provide positive feedback at all times.  Make the meetings fun and charged with energy. Keep it moving quickly and gently prod non- contributors.

 

Additional Reading

Top Facilitator Tips: Positioning your body when handling questions and discussion with your group 

Avoiding Meetings Burnout

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