Almost everyone I meet seems to think they know how to run a meeting. The startup founders I coach are convinced that their ability to guide a process is better than almost anyone else. The coaches I work with are no different, they feel their ability to listen and reflect makes them master facilitators. And yet consistently when I sit in on a meeting that one of my clients runs, I have to bite my tongue to hold back my suggestions and objections.
The truth is: MOST MEETINGS SUCK.
This is despite the fact that there are numerous guides, books, and outlines for how to run meetings. The real problem is that running a meeting is less about the mechanics (timing, agendas, talking sticks, conches, wands, etc) and more about the ability to be with people while also leading them with grace to a place THEY want to go.
So after running thousands of meetings and sitting through even more, here’s the skills you actually need to be successful.
Part 7: Final Thoughts
Being a great facilitator seems easy at first glance. You set up an agenda, guide a team or group through a set process, and then help them choose what’s next. But there’s so much more to it than that, especially if you want to be a world class facilitator.
Great facilitation demands that you learn how to lead without having most of the traditional trappings of a leader (CEO, Founder, Chairperson etc.) and without putting too much of your own ideas in the space (the way a consultant might). It’s a true test of leadership and coaching abilities, but mastering it is TOTALLY worth it.
Because if you do not only can you learn how to run groups that will change people’s lives, but you will also learn how to become a better leader, coach, and facilitator in your own life. These skills are KEY skills for any leader to master and it’s why many of my coaching and CEO clients talk about what they learn from watching how I run a meeting.
I assure you it’s not because my jokes are the best or I’m a great powerpoint creator. It’s because of who I choose to be in meetings and how I stand for the people I work with. That’s what’s possible. You can change people just by the way you run a meeting and you can also inspire them to be better leaders in their lives as well.
This is part seven of a seven part series.