Keep Your Eye on the Goals of the Meeting and be Patient with the “Wierdos.”

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Top facilitator tipSometimes brainstorming meetings can get carried away, particularly when initiating the first meetings. As part of every meeting, the facilitator should review the meeting ground rules (honor code) as well as clearly define the goal(s) of the meeting. At the outset of brainstorming, the facilitator makes it clear that there are no wrong ideas and the more spontaneous and “out-of-the-box” the better. However, the facilitator and participants need to keep focus on the goal.

One good technique to not stray too far off point is to have the goal(s) prominently displayed and visible to the group. When necessary the facilitator can also create a signal that its time to return to the topic. Some facilitators will use a whistle or a computer generated sound to signal a return to the topic, however, a warning to the facilitator.

By their very nature, creative thinkers can come out with some weird ideas that at first might sound off the mark and going down the wrong path. However, upon asking the contributor to elucidate on their idea may reveal their logic. Therefore, if the facilitator cuts off the idea before a full explanation how that may lead to the goals set for the meeting can not only miss great ideas but also shut down any other way-out-there ideas coming from others. The best method to use is to ask how that idea relates before moving on. As always, there will be those ideas that will bring a chuckle or a skeptical response and the facilitator must make sure that those type of kneed jerk responses don’t hurt any feelings. Keep the peace, keep it open and keep it moving toward the goal.


Additional Reading

How to Become a Master Meeting Presenter

Avoiding Meetings Burnout


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