How to Communicate Meeting and Workshop Results


Guardian of Change (Communications Plan)

Purpose

The Guardian of Change is better known as a Communications Plan.

Communications Plan

Empirical research shows that it is best to guard and protect communications than to simply shout out.  Different audiences need different parts of the message, and may react differently to descriptive terms used and the media used to communicate results.

The overall purpose is to get a group to agree on how it will communicate the results of its meeting and workshop efforts to others.  Students with study groups average a GPA that is 0.50 points higher than students without groups.  Why?  Socialization.

Rationale

At minimum, team members need an “elevator speech” that can deliver an effective synopsis of the meeting results.  At the other extreme, if the meeting is strategic, there could be numerous audience types such as the investment community, suppliers, trade personnel, etc.  If so, identify the key audience members before discussing the message, medium of communication, and frequency of communication for each.

When it is important that it sounds like the participants attended the same meeting together, consider agreeing on the rhetoric used to describe the meeting.  Typically, the two major audiences are:

  1. What do we tell our bosses or superiors ?
  2. What do we tell people dependent  on our results (ie, stakeholders) ?

Method

After identifying the target audiences, ask for each, “What are we going to tell _____?”  List the messages as bullet points that begin to homogenize (ie, create consistency) the meeting participants’ descriptions in the hallway about what was accomplished.

If necessary, discuss HOW TO communicate with the target audience such as face-to-face, email, etc.  For complicated communications plans, further discuss frequency or how often to set-up regular communications.  It may be necessary to schedule the communications so that the superiors are informed before other stakeholders.  Failing to plan suggests planning to fail. Meeting participants will use separate methods and discrete rhetoric that may generate different understanding among stakeholders who are expected to share similar understanding.

Proactively consider a 3*30 Report, a written summary of results that should take no longer than 30 minutes to write and no longer than three minutes to read and reply.  The 3*30 Report may be ideal for executives and other team members who are interested but not fully invested.

Let us know what you think by commenting below. For additional methodology and team-based meeting support for your change initiative, refer to “Change or Die, a Business Process Improvement Manual” for much of the support you might need.

Become Part of the Solution, Improve Your Facilitation Skills

The FAST curriculum on Professional Facilitation Skills details the responsibilities and dynamics mentioned above. Remember, nobody is smarter than everybody, so consult your FAST Facilitator Reference Manual or attend a FAST professional facilitative leadership training workshop offered around the world (see MG Rush for a current schedule — an excellent way to earn 40 PDUs from PMI, CDUs from IIBA, or CEUs).

Do not forget to order Change or Die if you’re working on a business process improvement project. It provides detailed workshop agendas and detailed tools to make your role easier and your team’s performance a lot more effective—daring you to embrace the will, wisdom, and activities that amplify a facilitative leader.

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About Terrence Metz
Biographic Sketch — Terrence Metz Since the end of 1999, Terrence Metz has been a founding principal partner and vice president at Morgan Madison & Company. For over twenty years, through professional and academic endeavors, Terrence has focused on improving group decision-making. His experience has proven that two important components to effective group decision-making are: 1. Higher quality information assures higher quality decisions, 2. Properly managed conflict, generates more “options” to consider—
and groups with more options are proven to make higher quality decisions. Terrence is passionate about using and teaching the FAST Facilitative Leadership Training technique so that people and teams make more informed decisions. Terrence is the lead instructor and primary curriculum developer for MG Rush Performance Learning. He earned his Six Sigma Green Belt® from Motorola University and wrote most of the existing FAST curriculum. Terrence made the FAST technique more robust by adding and enhancing decision-making tools such as PowerBalls and the FAST quantitative SWOT technique that is used worldwide by Fortune 1000 companies. He introduced the concept of holism to the field of structured facilitation as a method for keeping discussions on target and aligning deliverables throughout an organization. Since 1999, Terrence has taught over two hundred classes. With a Baccalaureate in Science from Northwestern University (Evanston, IL) and a MBA from NWU’s Kellogg School of Management, his professional experience has focused on product/ process development and innovation. Terrence has a P&L background in capital goods markets with highly engineered-products and services (eg, Honeywell). He is an expert group facilitator, instructor, and developer of workflow processes and Voice of the Market inputs that accelerate commercial success. His engagements have included strategic development, business planning, problem-solving, continuous improvement, organizational design, process design and improvement, customer cognitivity workshops, and market-based product development and launch. His book "Change or Die: The Business Process Improvement Manual" from CRC Press was published internationally in 2012. Terrence completed additional graduate work in inter-cultural decision-making processes at Marquette University, is a former board member of the Product Development Managers’ Association, and a long-time member of the IAF (International Association of Facilitators), MFNA (Midwest Facilitators Network Association), TMAC (Technology Management Association of Chicago) and WFS (World Future Society). Most importantly, Terrence is an effective listener and equally adept at teaching FAST classes as well as galvanizing consensus around complex issues for organizations and groups.

23 Responses to How to Communicate Meeting and Workshop Results

  1. You’ve made a compelling case for using an elevator speech and targeted communications after a workshop. Bravo!

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