You have seen them. They are the people that always have a different opinion. They know the ONLY way to do something. They don't want to even consider another way. We have all worked with them. Everyone wants to know how do we deal with that type of person?
Before you can deal with that type of person, you need to look at why do they take that hard stance? What is it that makes them feel that they are right?
Generally, people take a difficult stance for one or more of the following reasons:
These are just a few of the real reasons that people behave in a difficult manner. I believe there are underlying issues for most people when they behave in this way. Your meetings need to be structured to mitigate these behaviors. You may not be able to prevent them all but you can certainly start to establish a process to reduce them. Here are just a few suggestions.
One of skills that is growing in demand is "facilitation" skills. To be adapt at designing and facilitating meetings takes training and research. ICA-USA and ICA-Associates, Canada have spent decades developing facilitation training based on successful implementation of those methods. Consider taking one of the two upcoming classes offered by ICA-USA and ICA-Canada. ICA-USA ToP TM Facilitation Methods will show you two methods (Focused Conversation and Consensus Workshop) and one process ( Action Planning). The ICA-Canada class will show you how to determine the "right" people to have in the room, develop agendas, room set up, flip chart tips , 72 activities to use in your meetings and how to deal with difficult people.
Here are the links to the 2 Florida classes. Each are 2 day workshops.
No matter how much you prepare in advance for a meeting, each person has different expectations of what would mean a successful outcome of the meeting. Each participant brings with them their own experiences, knowledge and ideas. If you give participants an opportunity to share their idea of what success looks like, you will not only give each of them an opportunity to have their voice heard and know what a successful outcome would mean to them.
Example: If you are facilitating a meeting to evaluate a current practice for improvement, some potential outcomes may be: "Identify what practices need to be change, added or deleted" or a different outcome may be, "Create a who new set of practices" . If someone is anticipating the project to be completed at the end of the meeting and the actual outcome is just a "step" in that direction, they will be disappointed.
The following exercise will help you to gain clarity on what the participants expectations are of the meeting.
Procedures in person:
Procedures for virtual meeting with and without break out rooms:
Attribution: Canadian Institute of Cultural Affairs Meetings That Work, Jo Nelson's Meeting Tools, IAF Methods Online Database, Rosemary Pell, Pell & Pell Systems, Inc. Ontario Canada
For more tools like this consider attending the Tallahassee location of Meetings That Work, 2 day workshop developed by the Institute of Cultural Affairs Canada. This is the first time this class will be offered to the public in the USA.
Virtual meetings are becoming more common than in person meetings today. I personally facilitate over 20 standings meetings per month for committees or training opportunities. My goal is to engage each person on the call and make them feel as though they contributed to the outcome of the meeting.
I was once a participant on a virtual call and I was able to mute my phone and vacuum my office without ever having to un-mute. The presenter read each of the slides on the screen and I didn't even have to look at the slides. I often wondered why they didn't just send them out to everyone to view on their own time. If they were worried that no one would view them, they could offer a contest for answering questions related to the content. I felt that it was a waste of my time and hope to lead a meeting like that.
Here are some quick tips for your next virtual meeting or training.
At the conclusion
Meetings less that 20 people with participant audio
Keeping participants engaged
Practice and use available technology
Meetings without participant audio
Of course, do not offer a dial in phone option, you don't need one. I have been on a call where you had to dial into a phone line but were never un-muted. I could have listened through my computer speakers and text any questions.
Use polling questions to keep participants engaged.
Ask participants to answer questions using a chat box. Some platforms (Adobeconnect) will offer multiple chats that can be topic specific as well as person to person private chats.
What tips do you have to add to this list?
Nothing could be further from the truth, but so many times that is the impression we give people when we refuse to seek others opinions and input.
Many times we “think” we know the answer to our questions. Therefore, we don’t ask. We feel that we understand other situations so well that we don’t need to ask them. We don’t need to survey them. We don’t need to tell others what they think is important.
When you don’t seek out feedback you are missing out on….
When you fail to ask others what they think, you are short-changing yourself. You have only one set of experiences to base your assumptions on….your experiences. Everyone experiences life differently, has different realities and different answers. It is up to you to invite others to share their point of view and their answers. You may even surprise yourself with the answers you receive. You may find out you really don’t know it all.
What is your meaning of ICEBREAKER? For most, it is an activity designed to familiarize the group with each other. Sometimes it goes like this. “Tell me your name, your role and why you are here today?”. Be careful that you don’t start the the meeting off with data that everyone already knows. If you are facilitating a group of people who know each other, you don’t need to introduce them to each other or ask them why they are there. Most likely they are there because someone told them to come and I”m not sure you want to start off your meeting with those answers! You don’t want them to say, “here we go again, another stupid meeting”.
Keep in mind the participants, and their familiarity with each other. The ice breaker is meant to get people used to speaking aloud in the group and to be comfortable with their voice. If someone speaks during a meeting in the beginning, they are more likely to contribute throughout the meeting.
Designing a meeting is like writing a play. Each scene is carefully crafted. The difference is that the actors write their own scripts! You, as a facilitator need to consider what do you want the group to achieve at the end of this meeting and how do you want them to be different or evolve as a result of this event.
Design your “icebreaker” to have meaning that contributes to the outcome of the meeting. If you are meeting over a project that has just been completed, your “ice breaker” can be a discussion around what do the participants remember most about the project. It could be a reflection on how has this project completion affected them or their departments?
If you are looking for “ice breaker” activities, consider the “reason” you are doing it. Is there a communication problem with the group? If so, an ice breaker than brings to light communication problems that can then be discussed as a group, and takes the “blame” off the group for having bad communication. They may recognize habits they personally experience during the discussion and debrief and you can then develop a list of what makes “meaning and effective communication”?
Think about each of your activities and write down on paper, what do you hope to achieve by each one? It will shed some sun light on your design and keep your ice breaker from melting in the sun.
Dougherty, Inc.2388 SE 17th Terr., Homestead, Fl 33035Phone: 888-400-1029 Email: Laurie@Dougherty-Inc.com