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Best and Worst Case Scenarios with and without a Meeting Facilitator

Facilitator:

Noun

  1. Someone who makes things easier
  2. A person who moves a process or action forward
  3. One who assists you in progressing

Literally, by definition, a facilitator will make your life easier and help your organization thrive in times of change and during planning sessions. Take your pick of any definition, or all three. Why would you NOT want to make your next strategic planning meeting easier and more successful? What CEO or Executive Director would NOT want help to see progress in their business?

Let’s compare what is likely to happen if you hold your annual strategic planning or board meeting with and without an experienced meeting facilitator:

 

Worst Case Scenario WITHOUT a Facilitator

Value of an Experienced Meeting FacilitatorEveryone leaves feeling like they just wasted even more of their shrinking available time. They question not only the value of meetings but question the value of their input that is not heard, that is cut off, or that is otherwise disregarded. Anger over differences of opinion expressed in harsh terms will spill over into organizational in-fighting.

Best Case Scenario WITHOUT a Facilitator

You organize a great meeting and are able to draw out a lot of great discussion from your team members. The problem is that while you were busy running the meeting as the CEO or Executive Director, you either didn’t notice that you were not contributing your own opinions or that you were inadvertently directing the discussion toward your own personal agenda rather than creating a truly open and free forum for creative problem-solving.

Worst Case Scenario WITH an Experienced Facilitator

You spend some money on a meeting that produces positive results. Everyone feels like they were able to contribute ideas and opinions that were valued, even if not pursued. You are also allowed to focus on the purpose of the meeting rather than running it. Your staff, however, is not made to feel that your opinion is the only one that matters.

Best Case Scenario WITH an Experienced FacilitatorExperienced Meeting Facilitators Create Collaboration

You and the other participants not only feel valued as contributors to the success of your organization, you actually enjoy the activities of the meeting, create stronger working relationships, and look forward to the next meeting where you will report your progress toward the steps established and agreed upon during the meeting. Everyone has a clear understanding (in writing) of their accountability and the timeline for the success of the decisions made during the meeting.

Comparing the BEST case scenario WITHOUT a facilitator to the WORST case scenario WITH a facilitator, most will agree that hiring an independent, experienced meeting facilitator is an investment with a high ROI.

To finish up with an allegorical question, to enjoy a basketball or football game the most, would you rather be a fan or the ref? The ref may be closer to the action, but their focus on the details of the game can detract from the big picture that fans clearly enjoy.

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