Making Meetings Magnificent

Making Meetings Magnificent: (Half-Day)
Introduction: When most managers are asked about the key skills to be an effective manager, ‘running good meetings’, if it is mentioned at all, is usually way down the list.  This is a huge mistake.  For most professionals today, meetings both formal and informal, can account for well over half of the work-day, and are the place where key information is reviewed and much of the important work gets done.  If meetings are not well planned and well run, staff can view them as a waste of time and as a result disengage and view their manager negatively. And indeed meetings can be a huge waste of money, and a lost opportunity to align the group, get input from all attendees, and achieve goals effectively.  Meetings count, and thoughtful organizations know that well run meetings are one of the best indicators of effective leadership and strong teamwork.

Program Description:  This three hour, highly interactive session explores how to prepare for, facilitate and participate in meetings so as to make them engaging, productive and professional.  The session begins with a reflection on what too often goes wrong with meetings (e.g. no agenda, side conversations, tangents, people checking their phones, no decisions get made, verbal attacks, etc.).  The session then examines briefly the cost of poor meetings in both money and the reputation of the meeting leader. Next, a number of practical ideas are presented to use when planning a meeting (e.g. ideal structure of an agenda, how to set ground-rules for meetings, the benefit of a time-keeper, etc.).  But most of the program is focused on presenting and practicing the key 12 ‘facilitation skills’ that should be used in all meetings to keep a group on track, ensure full participation, professional/respectful conduct, and make certain that agendas get successfully achieved. Participants fill out a short, fun questionnaire to test their knowledge of key meeting ideas; there is some fun “skill practice” of the facilitation phrases in small groups; and finally participants make personal commitments on how the concepts presented will be used in their meetings going forward. Many participants to this program have stated that it was the most useful training session they had ever attended.

Learning Outcomes:
Participants in this three-hour workshop on Magnificent Meetings will:

1. Reflect on their experiences of lousy meetings
2. Learn the dollar and reputation cost of poor meetings
3. Review briefly some useful ‘mechanics’ to structure/plan a meeting
4. Learn the key 12 facilitation/interactive skills and phrases necessary for facilitating and participating in a magnificent meeting