Three Questions You Need to Answer Before Your Meeting Begins


You must consider these three questions before you take on the role of session leader for any meeting or workshop. Prompted by “Three (Incredibly Simple) Questions The Most Successful People Use To Change The World,” Forbes contributor Mike Maddock published an article that could have been cut and paste (figuratively) from the FAST Facilitative Leadership manual. Indeed, to lead a successful meeting, the three questions (slightly modified) should be considered for every meeting or workshop, especially when you are the session leader.

1. What is the deliverable?(Forbes: What’s the outcome I want?)

Three Questions

Start with the end in mind. What does DONE look like? Where are you going? How do you know when you get there? For meetings, our focus is clearly on output (ie, a thing) rather than outcome (ie, a new condition) since we are typically unable to generate new outcomes before the meeting ends. We can however generate the input required to generate new outcomes, and that is the purpose of the meeting.

2. What are the problems and challenges I foresee? (Forbes: What stands in my way?)

Emphasizing the importance of thorough preparation and interviewing meeting participants in advance, meeting time should be invested when collaboration is required or consensus is absolutely necessary. What people, issues, or components of the culture are going to get in the way of collaboration and consensus? Here answers yield insight necessary to build optimal agendas and activities for each specific group.

3. Who has already created this type of deliverable? (Forbes: Who has figured it out already?)

Chances are, you are not the first session leader in the history of mankind to face your type of deliverable and situational challenges. Find others that have already done it. The superior of one FAST alumnus calls it, “Once stolen, half done.” Especially explore others within your own organization through formal networks like a Community of Practice (CoP) or Community of Excellence (CoE) and informal relationships and friendships. Learning from the experience of others will jumpstart your chances of success, so please do not be shy about asking for help.

Facilitation Skills

The FAST curriculum on Professional Facilitation Skills details the responsibilities and dynamics mentioned above. Remember friends, 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).

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About Facilitative Leader & Instructor
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.

One Response to Three Questions You Need to Answer Before Your Meeting Begins

  1. Pingback: 15 Fun and Quick Tips to Help You Become a More Successful Facilitative Leader « Facilitative Leadership & Facilitator Training

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