The Other Half of the Room

For many years, I sat quietly in meetings until I was forced to speak. I often feared that my ideas and opinions were irrelevant or not as good as what others were presenting. I’ve left my mind at my desk while I ignored the conversation happening around me as I sought to solve the problem I had previously been working on. I was not an engaged participant and I was not alone. Admittedly, I am not only a victim but have caused my fair share of lame meetings.

This is an unacknowledged crisis in many corporations today: meetings that lack the collective participation of attendees leaving the best ideas of the group unfound. It is vital that we find better ways of drawing the ideas of the collective group instead of the ideas of the half that choose to participate.

There are side effects of a lack of participation. It negatively impacts the culture of a company; creating a fear of failure, a lack of engagement, and a lack of the productive dissent that’s necessary to generate the best ideas. The yawns from a PowerPoint deck or the absence of safety in roundtable discussion are weighing down companies around the world.

How do we move forward and start solving this problem? It starts with you! The next time you schedule a meeting or facilitate an event, prepare using modern facilitation techniques that won’t leave attendees alienated and get them involved in the discussion. Most importantly, study the art of facilitation. Research tactics that will help you become a better meeting facilitator. We are sorely ignoring this skill set.

For reference, here are some links to facilitations techniques you may research and start using immediately:

Liberating Structures
Visual Facilitation
Innovation Games
TastyCupcakes.org
Training from the Back of the Room

When you bring professionals together for a meeting, look around the room and make sure that the right people are in there. Put emphasis on why you are there and what you hope to accomplish. Do not let them leave guessing what the point of the meeting was. And lastly, be sure to get everyone involved using modern facilitation techniques.

What are some ways you make sure your meetings are productive? What are your favorite facilitation techniques to run or participate in?

 


As Vice President of Agile Innovation at Itero Group, Todd Miller leads our team in the delivery of Target Transformative Agile Services, Embedded Services, Scrum Training, and Product Development at our Scrum Technology Centers.

A professional Scrum trainer for Scrum.org, Todd has coached and trained enterprise teams across the United States on the Scrum framework, enterprise Agile transformation, and professional software development.

Connect with Todd on LinkedIn or Contact Todd directly for information on our Agile Practice

 

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