Some meetings are very costly - high salaries, travel costs. And you cannot chance them not working.
Conversations take on a life of their own, and often the people creating them are unaware of that as they try so hard to follow their own and others trains of thought. We also know that many Leaders find frustration when they realize they cannot facilitate their own meetings. This is where we come in.
It is an issue of group conversational dynamics, and not related to intelligence, experience or capability.
Among others, there are always at least two things going on in any conversation or meeting.
The content is the subject matter under discussion, and members thoughts and opinions about it. Then there is the process, which includes among many other elements, the structure, flow and direction of what gets said, how it gets said, and by whom.
We consult with you to determine what results you need to achieve in your meeting, and where and how you wish to do it. In some circumstances, we agree to meet key stakeholders for short discussions before the meeting where the gravity of required results demands it.
We advise on possible sticking points in your intentions, and agree with you how we will guide and support your discussions.
We follow your brief and organize the flow of conversation, managing the process of your discussion, and do not engage in the subject matter itself.
We keep track of the conversation, manage group dynamics and rein-in over forceful input where it risks loss of balance.
This testimonial is quite long. We hope you think it is worth including, because it outlines in our client's words how we facilitate a meeting.
Please accept my compliments for the inspiring role you played when our organisation held our UK Regional Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Coordination Meeting in Birmingham. We’ve had the regional representatives meet to find common ground before, but it was such a pleasant experience to see them unable to resist the temptation to work together for the first time.
You allowed all participants to express doubts, raise questions, and honestly participate in a frank discussion covering numerous highly technical and sensitive topics.
You demonstrated a leadership style that these executives rarely see. Your ability to facilitate the process whilst allowing the participants to agree the desired outcomes and next steps will make this collaborative programme successful at each level.
We are very pleased with the results and feel that you exceeded our expectations despite a difficult topic, and parochial attitudes. Each participant took the time to express to me their gratitude for the opportunity to take part and each recognised the workshop was a success thanks to your facilitation. The Chair of the UKHA stated he was very pleased with your facilitation and the process applied in such a short time and it will be interesting to see how that could be used for a number of groups with the same aim of developing a road map.
Your facilitation of your Future-Basing® process was interesting and motivating, and the workshop was excellent. All together, it was a grand way to start the process of creating a unified road-map for hydrogen technologies in the UK, and to find common ground for a coordinated large-scale project with multi-regional collaboration.
I was particularly impressed with the flexibility you demonstrated in the face of adversity. I apologise for the logistical difficulties that resulted in a 1-hour delay to the starting time, and the frequent interruptions as participants came and went during the workshop.
When two of our participants began an awkward confrontation at the beginning of the workshop, the effort could easily have all been in vain. Your ability to recognize the severity of the situation and to diffuse it was an unexpected blessing. Your ability to maintain the engagement of all participants was sincerely appreciated.
In addition, your willingness to assist in the logistics of set-up and tear-down went above and beyond the call of duty. You are a generous and effective facilitator. The Future-Basing® process is truly an amazing tool for stimulating creativity and fostering teamwork. Thanks again for sharing your talents and knowledge with us.
Yours sincerely, Karen Hall (28 July 2012)
Administrative Manger, UK Hydrogen Association
Post script to the above: www.ukhfca.co.uk (February 2015)
UK HFCA seeks holistic approach to support hydrogen fuelled vehicles
The UK Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Association welcomes Government plans to support hydrogen fuelled vehicles and associated infrastructure via its Ultra Low Emission Vehicles Strategy. In line with the Government’s aim to establish the UK as a lead market for the introduction of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, the UK HFCA is calling for a holistic [...]