• Know Your Audience
    If possible, try to meet and get to know your audience before the meeting.  Identify the different characters and have a plan and different tactics to ensure that ALL participants have “equal air time”.  To be successful, you really want to ensure that all people have contributed to the session, rather than the meeting being dominated by one or two individuals.
  • Agenda for Maximum Participation
    Ensure that you are clear about the objective for the meeting although manage expectations about what can be achieved in the time available.  Once agreed, have your own detailed agenda of how to achieve the objective. Your agenda should contain the tactics that you are going to use to achieve maximum participation. 
  • Different Facilitation Styles
    Take time to understand the different facilitation styles and decide which style is best suited for the meeting that you are going to run.  There are times when an effective facilitator can “lead” a meeting with information or by challenging the group; and there times when you should “sit back” and offer support and encouragement. 
  • Get the Attention Off You
    Whichever facilitation style you choose, look to get the attention of you as soon as possible, even if you are sharing new information. This can be done by diverting questions to you, back to the group e.g. how do others see it?  Alternatively, pose a question and give individuals or pairs time to think before giving an answer.  Remember, your role is to encourage maximum participation.
  • Have the Right Equipment
    Ensure that you are prepared and have the right equipment to encourage maximum participation from all members of the meeting. For example, pose a question and ask pairs to summarise their answers using one or two words with marker pens on cards.  Then have Blue Tac™ to put their answers on a wall, plus different coloured dots for individual voting. Send us an email for a suggested kit list.
  • Lateral Thinking and Energy
    In addition to the right equipment, have different techniques and questions prepared to encourage lateral and out of the box thinking, even for a “non-creative meeting”.  For example, ask the group how “others would see the problem” or “what would you do if money wasn’t an issue”. In addition, look to keep energy levels up with different exercises and even a few fun games.

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In addition to the above “top tips” about Creative Facilitation, do remember that what you do in the first 5-10 minutes will set the tone for the meeting and how people will feel.  Think about the environment for the meeting and whether you need to “go into the danger zone” by taking a few risks.  And of course, consider the need for rules and watch the clock in line with your detailed agenda. There are LOTS of facilitation books out there but do drop us an email if you would like some more advice or would like to engage Ideas First® to run a Creative Facilitation Training session with your team. 

 

Ideas First® are a specialist creativity and product innovation agency. We are passionate about helping our clients develop innovative new ideas and concepts that are truly creative, stand out from the crowd, and that drive business growth.

 

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