Meeting Facilitation

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Tips for Meeting Facilitation

  • Begin the meeting on time!
  • Identify a facilitator, note-taker, time-keeper and stack-taker for the meeting. Request a co-facilitator if desired.
  • Facilitator explains community agreements for meetings:
    • Time limits for meeting and agenda items
    • Tools for communication including hand signals and an explanation of stack
    • Explanation of the decision-making process
    • Time limits on individual comments
    • No personal attacks or interruptions
  • Start the meeting with a introductory go-round and icebreaker
  • Identify one thing that went well and one challenge from the week.
  • Compile an agenda and sort agenda items in order of priority.
  • Allow time for discussion of each agenda item; with the consent of the group determine whether:
    • More time should be allotted for discussion
    • A vote can be taken
    • Item should be tabled for future discussion / additional deliberation
  • At the one hour mark, check in to see if the group needs to take a break.

If you run into trouble, here are some things that may be helpful to consider:

  • Ask questions to initiate discussion, as opposed to jumping directly into concerns.
  • When people are voicing concerns, ask them what can be done to meet their concern.
  • Listen for agreement and note it, no matter how small. This both builds moral and helps clarify where the group is at.
  • Reflect back what you're hearing. Practice synthesizing and summarizing.
  • Break big decisions into smaller pieces.

8* Don't allow back and forths between two participants to dominate a discussion or agenda item: ask for input from others.

[credit: Thanks to Aorta Collective from whom we poached several of these ideas! ]