Having productive face-to-face meetings can do more than meet business objectives; constructive meetings can have a direct impact on business success too.
Getting the tone, content and pace of business meetings right can be a fine art. However, doing this successfully does more than achieve meeting objectives. Participants walk away from dynamic meetings with a sense of accomplishment and motivation. Businesses that run their meetings and training events well are also proven to be more successful. A study by the University of Amsterdam found meetings that showed signs of dysfunction – such as veering off-topic and attendees complaining about unrelated problems – were associated with businesses that had lower levels of market share and poorer employment stability.
It’s not uncommon to hear about employees feeling dissatisfied with how meetings are run. Unclear objectives, talking about unrelated matters and a lack of follow-up and accountability are especially common areas of concern.
What are the benefits of using an external facilitator for meetings and training?
Using an external meeting facilitator for business meetings and training events can help to solve all of these issues and more, keeping everything on track, focused and productive. Here are just some of the key benefits:
External meeting facilitators are individuals who are unconnected to the business. This helps them retain some distance from the subject matter and the people involved in the meeting, allowing them to focus instead on the objectives. This external facilitator is a neutral person who has an equal relationship with everyone involved in the meeting. As a result, hierarchical structures of the office and any emotional attachments individuals have to the subject matter are not held by the facilitator. This helps real progress to be made within a meeting.
When company employees facilitate meetings, it can be easy for conversations to wander onto other business matters. An external facilitator can be the person in the room to remind participants of the purpose of the meeting. While the facilitator can keep a record of other ideas and subjects that come up so these points aren’t forgotten, they can quickly steer participants back to the matter at hand. Walking away from a meeting when a clear business purpose has been achieved creates a positive feeling among all participants too.
Business meetings often fail when some individuals don’t feel they’re able to speak up and have a say. External facilitators aren’t involved in day-to-day working relationships, so they’re better able to ensure all points of view are heard. It may still seem some voices are carrying greater weight during a meeting, and meeting facilitators are trained to ensure everyone plays a part, even helping to balance emotion during difficult conversations.
A common bugbear in relation to ineffective meetings or training is when nothing changes in a company afterwards, even if many positive ideas were shared and agreed on. An independent facilitator will put together documentation after the meeting, ensuring all opinions, ideas and actions are logged. This outside perspective can provide greater clarity when it comes to decision-making. It also helps keep everyone accountable afterwards, encouraging specific people to complete agreed actions.
External meeting facilitators can bring a breadth of benefits to your meetings. When objectives are met and positive dialogue is stimulated, companies become more agile, innovative and respected by employees.