Remote Facilitation Magic: Things to do before a meeting to have better meetings

Me (Wendy): “Hey Bob, I’m done with Peter. You know, I’m quite proud of him that he’s using slack a lot more than emails nowadays. I think we’re rubbing off on him! 😉 “

Bob: “Hey Wendy, that’s good to hear! We are definitely changing Peter bit by bit! 😉 “

Me: “So, we talked about the moment we want a meeting, we first go through the thinking process that we’ve already taught people: to figure out whether we really need a meeting or not (sync / async). If we do, then we go through the thinking process of: 

  1. Who do I need in that meeting to achieve the goal and outcome while having enough viewpoints, so we don’t miss any angles? 
  2. How do I invite the people I’ve identified?
  3. What words do I use, and what tone do I take? 
  4. Is there any pre-work for the attendees, and how do I frame that work? 
  5. How do I shape the expectations of the meeting? 

We already talked through all of those points. I think the only thing left is to think about what pieces of communication are needed, on top of the meeting invite with an agenda.”

Bob: “That’s right, Wendy. So, after sending out the meeting invite, having taken care of the tone, the words used, phrased the pre-work as “What’s in it for me?” for the attendees, and gave them expectations, we may consider sending a reminder two days before the meeting, and to remind them of the pre-work that they are to do.”

Me: ”Is 2-day before the meeting enough?”

Bob: “Well, let’s experiment. How about we ask people for feedback about this at the end of the meeting?”

Me: “Sounds good. And I think that’s all the considerations for before the meeting, right?”

Bob: “Yea, I think that’s it.” 

Me: “Yay! We can finally talk about what facilitating a meeting means!”

Bob: “I know you’ve been waiting for this part, Wendy. So, first, we need to concentrate on what happens in the meeting. We need to teach people on the dynamics of the participants, and the flow of the meeting. It’s not just following the agenda.”

Me: “That’s right. Don’t forget, we also need to model all of these during our training.”

Bob: “Right. BTW, professional facilitators do this part really well. But as you can see, remote facilitation is a lot more than that. Ooops, I’m so sorry Wendy. I gotta run! Let’s continue next time?”

Me: “Definitely!”

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